Jaguaret

Myst ery Cat of Sout h America.

Etymology: From the GuaranĂ­ (TupĂ­) yaguarete ("great beast "). The common jaguar is also known by t his name in Brazil. Variant name: Cougar noire. PP'hysical description: Like a jaguar, except for black colorat ion on t he head, back, sides, and t ail. Near whit e underpart s, lower jaw, and paws.

Behavior: Eat s lizards, alligat ors, fishes, t urt le eggs, and t he buds and leaves o f t he Pricklypear cact us (Opuntia spp.).

Habitat: Favors t he seashore.

Distribution: Brazil; Guyana. Significant sighting: Thomas Pennant claims t hat t wo Jaguaret es were exhibit ed in London in t he eight eent h cent ury. Possible explanations:

(1) Melanistic Jaguars (Panthera onca) are known, but the black color is also found on t he underpart s. The spot s are always faint ly visible at cert ain angles to t he light.

(2) A black-and-t an or pseudomelanist ic jaguar morph, as suggest ed by Karl Shuker, might explain t he dual colorat ion. However, no mo dern inst ances have been report ed. Sources: Thomas Pennant, History of

Quadrupeds, vol. 1 (London: B. White, 1781); Thomas Bewick, A General History of Quadrupeds, 5t h ed. (London: E. Walker, 1807); Karl Shuker, Mystery Cats ofthe World (London: Robert Hale, 1989), pp. 191-192.

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