Jaguar Claws

The Jaguar (Panthera onca) is a large mammal in the Felidae family of wild cats. It is native to South America.

It is a carnivore – it eats meat. It kills is prey by biting into its skull. It pierces the skull with its large canine teeth and strong jaws.

But first, it has to catch its prey. It uses a stalk and ambush approach, instead of chase and catch. It slowly stalks and then pounces on its prey. Sometimes it leaps into water to catch its prey because it is a good swimmer.


After killing its prey, it drags it to a secluded place. It does not like sharing its food. It drags it up a tree. Therefore, it not only needs strength, it needs strong claws to climb up the tree. It uses it claws for climbing, gripping, defence, catching, and piercing flesh. 

The Jaguar has five claws in each front paw. It has four claws in each hind (back) paw. In total, it has 18 claws. 

Its claws are sharp and curved, and about 5 centimetres (2 inches) long.

Its claws are fully retractable like the claws on a domestic (house) cat.  This means that the claws can go in and out of its paws. The claws go in (retract) when they are not being used, which keeps them protected.


Location of photographs: Parc Zoologique de Paris in Bois de Vincennes, France

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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