Exploring Mexican Wildlife, Part 1: Wild Cats

Apart from the nightlife, carnivals, beaches, some more adventurous spirits can look for a variety of activities in the great outdoors of Mexico. After you order and obtain a comprehensive insurance policy online and pack your things, you’re all ready to take in the beauties of the Mexican wilderness. 

If you’re an avid zoology enthusiast, you’ll be thrilled to witness the range of wildlife in Mexican deserts, forests and prairies. The country has an astonishing variety of snake species (over 350) and 400 other reptiles, 500 species of mammals and more. Keep on reading to find out more about this rich biodiversity.

What big cats are in Mexico?

There are six big cat species that inhabit the 2 million square mile territory. Every one of these cats plays an important role in the ecosystem. Let’s take a quick look at each one of them. 


Pumas, cougars, or mountain lions, are the most successful large felines of the North American continent. Their vast range spans from Yukon to southern Chile. Highly adaptable, they are found pretty much everywhere within the Mexican territory. The exception is the surrounding of the Federal District and neighboring states, and the coastal parts of Veracruz and Tamauilpas. 

Pumas are highly adaptable and share the ecosystem with other wild cats. Over the recent years, they’re seen roaming nearer suburbs and cities.

Mexican bobcat 

A species of lynx, approximately twice the size of the domestic cat. Very much like the Canadian and Eurasian lynx, it has characteristic tufts of hair on the ears and a short tail. It’s found throughout the country, but primarily in the Northwest and around the Sonoran Desert. It’s a secretive, solitary and nocturnal animal, and is rarely seen in the wild. 


A medium-sized spotted wild cat, with the largest specimens can be up to 40 inches long. Their habitat ranges from southwestern US, all the way to northern Argentina. Within Mexican borders, it’s primarily found along the Atlantic and Caribbean coasts. It’s a nocturnal predator, hunting smaller prey at night, while resting during the day in the trees. 


This is the smallest of Mexico’s wild cats, about 31 inches long and 15 inches tall. It’s somewhat  similar to the ocelot, with longer legs and tails, shorter head and larger eyes. 


Medium sized wild cat species, about twice the size of a domesticated cat. They appear in two colors: red and grey. It’s also known as gato colorado, gato moro and tigrillo. Their habitat overlaps with the jaguar and the puma. They are much more likely to come across with.


Jaguar is considered a Mexican national symbol, alongside the golden eagle. It’s the third largest cat species in the world, after tiger and lion, and the only member of the Panthera genus in the Americas. It’s about 26 inches tall when standing, weighing between 120 - 210 lbs. Jaguar resembles the African leopard, but has a stockier build and a larger head.

Their features include a spotted coat with a thick black outline, muscular bodies, and formidable jaws. Jaguars are apex predators that inhabit lush, deciduous forests and rainforests. They normally prey on capybaras, deer, cattle calves, coatils and peccaries. North American subspecies are a bit smaller than the South American variant. 

Black panther is another name for a melanistic variant of the jaguar. The parts of the fur that should be yellow or white are colored black or brown, giving the characteristic look. 

Are there jaguars in Mexico?

Recent studies show that there are now about 4,000 - 5000 jaguars living in the Mexican wildland. This is about 40% of their global population. These figures put them in the “nearly threatened” category. Fortunately, natural conservationists are putting efforts to preserve the jaguar in its natural environment and the numbers are on the rise. 

When staying in a cabin or camping outside, you shouldn’t be afraid of being attacked by a jaguar. It’s actually the least likely big cat to harm humans. It’s fairly reclusive and will only attack natural prey or when threatened. 

You’ll probably encounter some people who offer opportunities to take photos with jaguar cubs. For a good reason, tourists are discouraged from such activities. 

Where can you find jaguars in Mexico?

Jaguar used to inhabit a much larger area, ranging all the way to New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and even parts of Colorado. Unfortunately, due to poaching, loss of habitat, and deforestation, these magnificent beasts are now found predominantly in southern Mexican states. 

In the north, you can still find them along the Atlantic coast, from Guerrero to Sinaloa, and in natural reserves. There have been some rare sightings near the US border in recent years. If you’re looking to see specimens in their natural environment, you can find them in Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, and elsewhere in Quintana Roo. 

When travelling to Mexico, how can I purchase reliable insurance online?

Whether you’re staying near the US-MX border or travelling all the way south, you’re likely to find plenty of opportunities for adventure and exploration. You can go scuba diving with sea lions in Baja California, hike on breathtaking trails, enjoy indigenous art and festivals, or discover the wonders hidden in southern rainforests.

When you go on an exciting expedition like this, the last thing you need is to have to worry about your car. Fortunately, you can rely on Oscar Padilla Mexican Insurance. We have extensive experience and have supported thousands of US citizens in their journeys. You can easily fill in, download and print out your policy today. When you’re in doubt, you can rely on our support line to offer a solution. 

Of course, don’t hesitate to call us today if you need any additional information about our services.