Difference Between Jaguar and Panther

Jaguar vs Panther

The awareness among the people about the jaguar and the panther is little. The real situation is therefore important to be understood. Generally, panther is a colour morph of any big cat. Therefore, it would be possible for a jaguar also to be a panther. These interesting animals should be discussed together for a better understanding about the differences and similarities.


Jaguar is scientifically known as Panthera onca, and they are natives of the two American continents. Natural distribution could range from Argentina through the rest of South America through Mexico up to Southern parts of the USA including Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. Jaguars are of nine subspecies, those vary according to their locality. Among all the big cats, jaguar is the third largest; only the lion and tiger are bigger to them. The weight could range from 60 to 120 kilograms, and they are taller than a one metre. A jaguar could grow almost to a two metre long body. The characteristic black spot inside rosettes in a golden yellow background, makes this animal unique among all. The lines of rosettes are thicker and darker in colour, making them almost impossible to see for the prey species. The size of a rosette is larger than that of a leopard thus, the number of rosettes are low in a jaguar. It has only been hypothesized that jaguars mate throughout the year, but it has not been proven using captive populations. The other findings of those studies revealed that the frequency of reproduction could increases with an increased number of prey items. The lifespan of a jaguar could go up to 20 years in captivity, whereas in the wild, it is about 12 – 15 years. Because of an always attended staff with intense veterinary care for a jaguar in captivity, the lifespan could increase.


It has always been interesting to study panthers as they could be any of the big cats. According to the place, the referred animal as Panther could change. A panther could be either a puma in most of the North America (except where jaguar is distributed), or a jaguar in South America, or a leopard in Asia and Africa. Because of a transferable mutation that happens in their chromosomes, this colour-mutated big cat is produced. There are no clear and visible spots on the skin of a panther. However, the faded spots could be seen if there is the slightest of a chance to get close to them. Panthers are usually black but, white panthers (also known as albino panthers) are also present. An albino panther could be produced as a result of albinism, or reduced pigmentation, or chinchilla mutation (a genetically caused event that erases striping and colour spots).

What is the difference between Jaguar and Panther?

Both jaguar and panther being carnivores, they share most of the biological features as most other big cats do. Both these animals have extra large canines, powerful jaws, padded paws…etc as great adaptations for their predatory lifestyle. Panther is mostly black in colour but jaguar has its characteristic rosettes in golden yellow background. Panthers in South America are sturdier than the others, and moreover, the Asian and African panthers are the smallest among all.