When they’re not stalking and ambushing prey, jaguars spend most of their time resting in tree limbs. This allows them to stay cool in the tropical rainforest and avoid detection from predators. They are a diurnal hunter, but their eyes are specially adapted for night hunting with a mirror-like structure called the tapetum lucidum in the back of their eye which reflects light into the retina and nearly doubles their ability to see.
They are opportunistic hunters and can take anything within their range including capybaras (wild pigs), deer, tapirs, caiman and fish. Their teeth are strong enough to pierce the hides of these creatures as well as the tough shells of turtles. They also eat fruit and berries as well as roots and tubers.
In captivity, most zoos provide plenty of shade and low branches for jaguars to lie down in. They also usually have pools in their exhibits for the big cats to frolic and swim. However, according to a study published in the "Journal of Applied Animal Welfare and Science," zoo visitors can have a negative impact on the daily routines and behaviors of big cat species.
The Belize Jaguar Project sponsored by the Cat Survival Trust is building a natural enclosure for two displaced wild jaguars named Lady Hill and Mistletoe. The team is working through the rainy season to complete the large enclosure which will be home to these beautiful felines for many years to come.