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  • Writer's pictureVedant N.

Jaguar vs Leopard - Who Would Win in a fight?

Jaguar versus Leopard, these two big cats are often confused to be the same. In this article, we will know who is stronger, faster, and more deadly of these two big cats. Let’s know what will happen if these two big cats come face to face.


Jaguar Habitat
Jaguar Habitat

The jaguar is a huge cat species native to America and the only living member of the genus Panthera. It is the third largest cat species in the world and the largest in America. It has a striking coat with pale yellow to tan colored fur covered in dots that transition to rosettes on the sides, while some individuals have a melanistic black coat. It can be found in both forested and open areas, although its preferred habitat is moist broadleaf forest, wetlands, and woodland areas in tropical and subtropical climates. It is a solitary, opportunistic, stalk-and-ambush apex predator that is good at swimming. Its significance as a keystone species in ecological stabilization and prey population regulation is crucial. The jaguar's current habitat covers Mexico, Central America, and South America, including much of Amazonian Brazil.

The leopard is one of five living species in the Panthera genus, which belongs to the Felidae family of cats. It can be found in Sub-Saharan Africa, Western and Central Asia, Southern Russia, and the Indian subcontinent, as well as Southeast and East Asia. It prefers savanna and rainforest habitats, as well as meadows, woodlands, and riverine forests that are relatively undisturbed. It is still widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa, thriving in marginal habitats where other large cats have vanished.


The jaguar is a muscular and compact animal. It is the largest cat endemic to America and the world's third largest cat, with only the tiger and the lion being larger. At the shoulders, it stands between 26.8 to 30 inches tall. It comes in a variety of sizes and weights, with most weighing between 56 and 96 kg. Extremely large males have been documented weighing up to 158 kg. The smallest females weigh around 36 kilograms. Females are typically 10 to 20 percent smaller than males, making it sexually dimorphic.

Male leopards are larger and heavier than females, making them sexually dimorphic. It has a strong body, short limbs, and a wide head. Females are 22.4 to 25.2 inches tall, while males are 23.6 to 27.6 inches tall at the shoulder. The head and body lengths range from 2 ft 11.4 inches to 6 ft 5.2 inches, with a tail length of 2 feet 2.0 inches to 3 feet 4.2 inches. Geographically, sizes differ. Males weigh 37 to 90 kilograms, while females weigh 28 to 60 kilograms. Leopards in North Africa were said to grow to be as big as Barbary lions. A wild leopard's maximum weight in Southern Africa was around 96 kg in 1913. An Indian leopard caught in Himachal Pradesh in 2016 measured 8 feet 6.8 inches tall and weighed 78.5 kg, making it India's largest known wild leopard.




56-158 kgs

37-90 kgs (Males)


26.8-30 inches

22.4-27.6 inches

Competition in Wild

The jaguar is the apex predator of the Central and South American rainforests, particularly the Amazon rainforest. It is the true king of the jungle in America. Anacondas are only natural enemies of jaguars.

The leopard coexists alongside other large predators such as the tiger, lion, cheetah, spotted hyena, striped hyena, brown hyena, African wild dog, Indian wild dog, Indian wolf, and up to five bear species in portions of its global range. Some of these animals rob leopards of their hunts, kill their cubs, and even murder adults. While the interspecies killing of full-grown leopards is uncommon, both tiger and lion will quickly kill and eat both young and adult leopards if given the chance. If the leopard is unable to carry the prey into a tree, it is commonly lost to brown hyenas. Single brown hyenas have been seen charging at male leopards and displacing them from kills. Leopard kills are occasionally retrieved by lions from trees. Leopards are occasionally preyed upon by Nile crocodiles. While attempting to hunt along a bank in Kruger National Park, a large adult leopard was captured and devoured by a giant crocodile. In Rajasthan, mugger crocodiles are said to have killed an adult leopard.


The jaguar is an obligate carnivore, meaning it gets all of its nutrients from the anteater's flesh. Its prey weighs between 1 to 130 kilograms, with capybara and giant anteaters being the most common. It also eats marsh deer, southern tamandua, collared peccary, and black agouti when they're available. In floodplains, jaguars opportunistically take reptiles such as turtles and caimans. Reptile consumption appears to be more common in jaguars than in other large cats. One isolated population in Brazil's Pantanal is known to eat mostly aquatic reptiles and fish. It employs an unusual killing method: it bites mammalian prey directly through the skull between the ears to deliver a fatal bite to the brain. It kills capybara by piercing its canine teeth through the temporal bones of its skull, breaking its zygomatic arch and mandible, and penetrating its brain, often through the ears.

The leopard is a carnivore that prefers medium-sized prey weighing between 10 and 40 kilograms. Prey species in this weight range prefer dense habitats and gather in small groups. Ungulates like impala, bushbuck, common duiker, and chital are the most popular. White-eyed mangabeys, guenons, and gray langurs are among the primates preyed upon. Smaller carnivores such as the black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, genet, and cheetah are also killed by leopards.

Final Verdict

If size is the only factor that matters, the jaguar is surely the winner. The jaguar is stockier and more muscular than the leopard, with a compact body, a broader head, and powerful jaws. But, don’t underestimate the leopard. They are way more territorial, and aggressive than jaguars. Leopards are also known to stand their ground against other big cats like tigers and lions. If a fully grown male leopard and a fully grown male jaguar get into a fight, both of them won’t back off.

Jaguar vs Leopard

That being said, this would be one of the most brutal fights, as both leopards and jaguars can climb trees and won’t let their opponent escape, and climbing trees is the only way for leopards to escape from fights. If the fight goes long enough, the leopard will have a hard time fighting a much bigger and stronger opponent. So, in my opinion, Jaguar is the winner of this battle.


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