The massive head and strong canines are adaptations for crushing skeletal material and cracking open well armoured prey such as turtles. Like most cats, the jaguar is solitary outside mother-cub groups.
Jaguars prefer dense forest or swamps with good cover as they usually stalk their prey on the ground. Mating occurs throughout the year, but young are reportedly more likely to be born in the wet season when prey is more abundant. The female gives birth to a litter size of one to four cubs after a gestation period of 91 to 111 days. Young are dependent on their mother for up to two years, after which time they disperse to find their own territory. Jaguars reach sexual maturity at two to three years for females, three to four years for males.