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Jaguars



Jaguars
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.8

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    anti-fur, rose-patterned, adaptive, outright, potentially, distinguish, genus, pelts, conservation, assault, overall, formidable, verge, relatively, factor, frontal
     content words:    South America, International Trade, Endangered Species, Wild Flora


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Jaguars
By Vickie Chao
  

1     In the world of cats, there is a particular genus called Panthera. Panthera has four distinguished members. Each one of them is so scary that it is definitely the last thing we want to encounter out in the wild!
 
2     Of the four Panthera species, three (the lion, tiger, and leopard) prefer the habitats in Africa and Asia, leaving only one that favors the Americas. That lone Panthera species wears a rose-patterned tawny fur coat. At first glance, we may confuse it with the leopard. But upon a closer look -- which is, of course, not recommended -- we would see that the two actually carry some subtle differences. For example, the leopard's body is not as heavy. Its legs are longer. Its movement is more graceful. Plus, the pattern on the leopard's fur coat is smaller and lacks tiny black spots at the center of each rosette. This very last clue, as it turns out, is perhaps the easiest way to distinguish between the leopard and its American cousin, the jaguar.
 
3     Jaguars are big, mean cats. They are also very adaptive animals. They know how to climb. They know how to swim. And they know how to survive in a wide variety of environments ranging from tropical rain forests to marshy swamps to dry woodlands to arid deserts. Once fully-grown, they can reach up to 6 feet long and weigh more than 300 pounds. In their native habitats of Central and South America, they are at the top of the food chain and can devour pretty much anything that comes across their path, including caimans.

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Animal Themes
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Mammals
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