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Difference Between Panther And Jaguar

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Panther and jaguar are two different but large species that belong to the cat family. The main difference between a panther and a jaguar is that panthers are black, whereas jaguars are yellow with black spots. Besides, jaguars are found in the western hemisphere, while panthers are found in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. 

Apart, there are many more differences in their appearance, nature, characteristics, etc., that help distinguish panther and jaguar. But before that, learning more about both individually is reasonably necessary to explore differences and similarities.

What is a Panther?

black panther
A black Panther in the forest

Being one type of leopard, especially a black colored, the panther is also famous as a black panther and is a prominent member of a big cat family. They are mainly from America, Africa, and Asia. Panther is not a separate species, but it is used to determine any black-hued feline, especially jaguars or leopards. 

As one of the strongest climbers in the felines family, they are considered very powerful and shifty. Besides, they are adaptive due to their broad geographic origin. However, it is an endangered species because of the reducing numbers of panthers, leopards, and jaguars in their native habitats. The best and most attractive feature of panthers making them different from other felines is their potential to roar. 

Weight and height vary with their species and gender. Few of them, particularly males, can go up to 250 kg. Popular as intelligent and guarded animals, they spend most of the night hunting and day time in rest leading a solitary life. 

What is a Jaguar?

A Jaguar in a tree

Found in the south and central America, mainly in Amazon Basin, these jaguars are known for their beauty and power. These cats are the critical symbols in the ancient native cultures of America. Their name is derived from the American term "yaguar", which represents the one who kills with one leap.

Apart from being the important species of the big cat family, it is also the only feline of the genus "Panthera" indigenous to the Americas. Talking about their appearance, they are somewhat similar to the leopards, but the spots present on the jaguar's body are complex in their center. 

Besides, they are powerful and agile species living a nocturnal and solitary lifestyle like other cats of the Panthera genus. One thing that makes jaguars different in the several ancient South American cultures is their belief in referring to them as "God".  Their representations are added in the archaeology and art of the expanse of their natural habitat originating from Central Argentina to the southwestern region of the USA. Their swimming abilities also make them different from other cat family members.

Difference Between Panther And Jaguar

Differentiation of panther and jaguar can be done in terms of their habitat, appearance, nature, behavior, origination, features, etc.

Size And Color 

In terms of size, jaguars are the third largest cat globally after tigers and lions. Their weight varies from 120 to 210 pounds and reaches about 25 to 30 inches at the shoulder. Thus, panthers are usually smaller than jaguars having a height of about 23 to 28 inches at shoulders weighing 130 pounds.

The most visible difference between panthers and jaguars is their body and fur colors. Jaguars are found in tan or pale yellow, having black spots marking having rosettes shape on their sides. Those rosettes have a wonderful black spot in the center. 

Apart, panthers have sleek black fur giving them notoriety. Besides being black in the shade, it is possible to see the rosette marks on the body coat of panthers as it is the basic characteristic of both panthers and jaguars.

Behavior Difference Between Panther And Jaguar

Jaguars usually live alone and mark their region by their wastes or claw marks on trees. Female jaguars usually give birth to one to four cubs who are helpless and blind when they are born. Both father and mother live with their cubs and protect them from everything possible such as other animals, climate, etc. Cubs stay with their mother primarily for two or more years to learn hunting skills with their family.

On the other hand, panthers are known as a quiet, agile, intelligent, and cautious animal who is excellent at camouflaging with their fur (dark brown shade). Panther rest during the daytime in the trees leading a solitary, mighty, and fearless lifestyle.

Hunting Skills And Method

Having one of the strongest and sharp bites among all cats after lions and tigers, jaguars hunt their prey with a devastating bite on the head to crush their skull. Besides, they bite so strong that they can even penetrate the turtle's shells and can crush the caimans' skulls. 

Apart from being small in size than jaguars, panthers have the ability to kill their prey by biting the throat or the back of their neck. Generally, they bite the throat of their larger prey and crush the windpipe present in it by suffocating them.

Life Span Of Both Panthers And Jaguar

The life duration of the Panthera genus differs according to their species. The life span of a healthy jaguar is about 12 to 15 years, while the lifespan of the panther is about 12 to 17 years.

Comparison Chart: Panther Vs Jaguar

Scientific NamePuma ConcolorPanthera Onca
GenusPanthera PardusPanthera
NumberEndangeredNear to threatening 
PlacesLatin America, Africa, And AsiaSouthern US and Mexico across Central America and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina
Killing TechniqueCrush or suffocate victim or bite straight through throatCrush or suffocate victim or bite through skull
ColorBlack color (also found in white and pink in shade)Yellow with black spots
Swimming skillsThe panther can swim but they prefer dry areasPowerful swimmer

Similitudes Between Panther And Jaguar

Viewing the difference between panther and jaguar, they share similarities too:

  • Both panther and jaguar belong to the Felidae family, sharing the same genus "Panthera" that describes the big cat family. Jaguar is a panther having spots present on their black coat body. All jaguars are panthers, but not all panthers are jaguars.
  • Also, they both are known as powerful, intelligent, exotic, and wild animals from the big feline family. 
  • Both belong to the Animalia kingdom and have the Chordata phylum.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Jaguar and Black Panther the same?

The word "black panther" is usually referred to as black-coated leopards of Asia and Africa (Panthera Pardus), while Panthera onca is from central and south America. These black fur species are famous as black jaguars or black leopards.

Which one is more powerful: The Lion or the Panther?

Panthers can dominate a male lion quickly because they have great experience in hunting and fighting. Despite the massive weight of lions, panthers are more agile than lions. However, lions can promptly kill a panther and win a fight.

Who wins between a Jaguar and a Tiger fight?

Having high stamina and less weight, jaguars are proved to win consistently in a fight with a tiger. They have more strength than a tiger.


Even though having the same cat family, panthers and jaguars are distinguishable from their behavior, habitat, color, and other characteristics. Both share some common and general characteristics, rather than only differences in a species of Panthera genus.

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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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