Can Jaguars swim? How fast can Jaguars swim?

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Can Jaguars swim? Can they swim underwater?

Yes, Jaguars can swim very easily. They are excellent swimmers.

And yes, they can also swim underwater by holding their breath for a quite long time.

Jaguars are second largest big cat just after the tiger that can swim underwater very easily. They are known to swim to keep the body cool and also to hunt for their potential aquatic preys.

Jaguars live in a range of habitats ranging from arid scrubland, thick tropical forests, swamps, coastal mangroves, lowland river valleys, grasslands, to mixed-coniferous forests.

They lead a solitary life and are often seen making their territory nearby water bodies. They love to swim and so are seen to be always attracted to areas near rivers and streams.

And, why they won’t? As they can swim very well!

They are seen leaping over the prey that is present in the water and attacking them very aggressively to kill them.


Not only they are good swimmers, they are deep divers as well. As very often they are seen to dive deep to the bed of the water bodies like rivers, streams, and lakes either to make a dive or kill its prey.

They have very sharp focus that let them see very easily underwater without creating any physical disturbance to their eyes.

In the areas they live in, mostly in the mangrove and tropical forests, they are very good hunters both underwater and on land.

Another very interesting thing to note is that, they can even eat their prey underwater if its a small prey like a river turtle or fish.

However, for larger preys they grab them using their powerful jaws and drag them near the bank and then to its favourite place to feast upon it.

How fast can Jaguars swim?

Yes, Jaguars are great swimmers and they do have a pretty awesome speed while they swim or dive underwater.

Jaguars do have a pretty awesome streamlined body that helps them reach an average speed of 80 km per hour when they rush after their prey on land.

But, inside water they don’t have that much speed, however their body is well-streamlined for movement in water as well.

Jaguars are known to swim with a roughly estimated speed of about 2 to 5 miles per hour, or with an average speed of 3 to 8 km per hour.

If you compare this speed with humans, then humans at their peak athleticism can swim at best around 6 miles per hour which is a bit more than a Jaguar.

So, how come the Jaguars swim so fast? Their short and stocky limb structure makes the jaguar adept at climbing, crawling, and swimming very easily.

Jaguars are well-known for their surprise attacks on their prey that also includes leaping into the water on the prey.

And as the jaguar is a very good swimmer and so is quite capable of carrying a large kill and swimming and bringing it to the ground.

Jaguars being powerful swimmers have been known to swim great distances to hunt or cross rivers. Young Jaguars are more fast swimmers than adults.

It has been seen that the young Jaguars can learn to swim in their very fast attempt or at least within their two or three attempts. Swiming seems something genetic in them, but there’s no strong evidence to prove that it’s genetic.

Young Jaguars often play in water and adults will lounge in streams or lakes to hunt or to stay cool during the heat of the day.

How far can a Jaguar swim?

Most of the time, Jaguars are seen leaping on the water bodies and attacking their prey. Sometimes, they are also seen crossing rivers and streams to go on the other side.

More often they stay and keep diving in a small region of the water body. They do so to simply keep them inside the water, or swim, or while in search of fishes or any other aquatic animal to feed on.

They are not seen swimming very far. They are just seen to leap, attack, dive, or just remain on the surface of the water.

Unlike Jaguars, tigers have been seen to swim for several kilometres, and even one adult tiger has been reported to swim for 30 km in just a day.

But in the case of Jaguars, they don’t swim for such a far distance. They have been only seen to swim less than 1 km in a day.

This doesn’t mean that they can’t swim like a tiger for several kilometers or so, but they don’t swim so far until the need arises.

They are very good swimmers comparable to those of the tigers, and it’s very obvious that they can swim far distances very easily and perfectly.

How long can a Jaguar hold its breath underwater?

Jaguars can hold its breath for unexpectedly long time. They can’t breathe underwater, they only have lungs to breathe in the air.

But when they dive deep into the water they can hold their breath, meaning that they can block their windpipe (pharynx) so that the water can’t enter their lungs.

They can hold their breath for as long as 15 to 20 minutes for sure. Many researchers have reported that the jaguars can hold their breath for as long as 1 hour approximately.

In the other case, young Jaguars can only hold their breathe for not more than 5 to 6 minutes as reported by various researchers.

The more experienced swimmer they are, the much better and for a long time they can hold their breath without any hassle.

We humans can hold our breath for not more than 2 minutes. Elephant seal can hold for 2 hours and that’s too long.

If you ever see a Jaguar swimming then you will find it to keep its nose above the surface of the water and its mouth will be probably closed.

However, if you see a Jaguar diving deep underwater then its mouth can be either closed or open and that doesn’t matter, as they can probably hold their breath without allowing the water to get inside their lungs.

But, after 3 to 5 minutes of holding their breath, they will probably come to the surface of the water to inhale fresh air in and exhale the carbon dioxide out for about 10 to 15 seconds. And, then again it may dive deep into the water.

Evidently, the jaguar can hold its breath for a long time, while it engages in the underwater activities like deep diving, hunting inside water, and they can even eat underwater if its a small prey like a fish.

Do Jaguars kill crocodiles? What other aquatic animals can they kill?

Yes, jaguars can kill crocodiles. They are very often seen to leap on the crocodile by a surprise attack, and then bitting it in its skull part, and then dragging it out of the water.

They mostly feed upon the small crocodile species like the several species of Caiman. Caiman crocodiles are closely related to American Alligators.

It would be more correct to call a Caiman an alligator. It’s because crocodiles and alligators are different and they both belong to a group of reptiles called crocodilians, which are the largest of the living reptiles.

They are mostly seen attacking the spectacled caiman, broad-snouted caiman, Jacare caiman, and black caiman and feeding on them by dragging them out of the water to their favourite feasting location.

They are also seen attacking caimans that are taking a nap at the bank of the rivers or stream.

Jaguars have the highest bite force of any big cat, more powerful bite than the lions and tigers, and their one bite is just enough to kill the crocodiles by crushing their skull.

However, they can’t kill all of the species of crocodiles as they wouldn’t stand much of a chance against a Nile crocodile or saltwater crocodile or rather a big alligator. And if they attack a big one they themselves can be killed.

So, it’s very rare to see a jaguar attacking a big-sized crocodile species like the saltwater crocodile or more. They are always seen with successful kills when they attack upon caimans.

What other aquatic animals can Jaguars kill?

They can also feed on fishes, turtles, eggs, frogs, crabs, lobsters, and anything else they can catch. They are also seen to catch and feed upon non-venomous water snakes.

They can also feed on young anacondas and pythons by biting and dragging them out of the water.

However, they do avoid conflicting or attacking large adult anacondas or pythons as they do know than these big snakes can kill them.

Anacondas are opportunistic hunters, and will pretty much attack any animal that they think can over-power and eat, including caimans and jaguars.

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