Review and photographs by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972
In Africa, the top land predator is the iconic lion. In Asia, it is the royal tiger. And in Central and South America, the tenacious jaguar (Panthera onca) reigns supreme at the top of the food chain.
Schleich’s most recent take on the jaguar came out in 2017. Measuring around 12 cm long, it is sculpted in a realistic walking pose with its left front and hind limbs extended and its head looking to the right. The visible set of testes at the rump identify this individual as a male. Like all big cats, male jaguars grow to be significantly larger than female ones, with an average weight between 56 kg(123 lbs) and 96 kg(212 lbs). Particularly large males can tip the scales well over 136 kg(300 lbs). This makes the jaguar the largest felid in the Americas and the third largest in the world after the tiger and the lion.
The main colours are light orange and white with black for the mouth, claws, and tail tip, and both black and light brown for the spots, or rosettes. The nose is pink, the eyes are a yellowish brown, and the pads on the feet are dark grey. Unfortunately, the footpads on mine have been painted rather sloppily and the eyes are looking in different directions, which is a flaw common among animal figures.
On the positive side, this figure does possess all the key features of a jaguar: distinctive rosettes, a stocky build, relatively short limbs, and a very large head. Out of all felids, jaguars have the most powerful bite relative to their size, which combined with their speed, stealth, and strength, makes them highly effective apex predators. They feed on a wide variety of animals including capybaras, anteaters, peccaries, armadillos, and monkeys, but they are perfectly capable of killing far bigger and more formidable prey. An adult jaguar can crunch right through the shell of a sea turtle, take down a horse with ease, and fearlessly plunge into a river to kill a caiman as big as itself, then haul it back onto dry land for devouring.
Overall, the 2017 Schleich jaguar is a pretty solid representation of the real thing. For certain, my son enjoys playing with it while making ferocious roaring sounds. It is also available in a melanistic colour scheme for those wanting a “black panther.”