- The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids

Jaguar, Leopard or Panther - What’s the Difference?

1. Appearance

Coat: Patterns, Markings, Spots, Rosettes, Color

What Do the Markings Look Like? The best way to tell leopards and jaguars apart is their markings. But you have to look closely! The markings in their fur are called rosettes and are actually small, interrupted whorls.

Fur Markings in Jaguars

Jaguars have bigger rosettes than leopards and they also have dots in the middle.

Jaguar Jaguar - Photo: Edelwipix/Shutterstock

Fur markings in Leopards

Leopards have smaller rosettes than jaguars. Their rosettes don’t have any dots.

Leopard Leopard - Photo: TigerStocks/Shutterstock

Tail Tip in Jaguars

The jaguar's tail is black. In the leopard it is rather light, especially the underside is white.

Jaguar Jaguar - Photo: gudkovandrey/

Tail Tip in Leopards

Leopard Leopard - Photo: amit/

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