We conducted the first long-term and large-scale study of demographic characteristics and reproductive behavior in a wild jaguar (Panthera onca) population. Data were collected through a combination of direct observations and camera trapping on a study area that operates both as a cattle ranch and ecotourism destination. Jaguars exhibited two birth peaks: April/May and October/November, that are the end and the beginning of the wet season in the Pantanal, respectively. The average litter size was 1.43 ± 0.65. Single cubs made up a total of 65.7% of the births, and we found a slight predominance of females (1.15:1 ratio) in litters. The mean age at independence was 17.6 ± 0.98 months, with sex-biased dispersal, with all males (n = 27) leaving the natal home range and 63.6% of females exhibiting philopatry. The interbirth intervals were 21.8 ± 3.2 months and the mean age at first parturition was 31.8 ± 4.2 months. Our results estimated a lifetime reproductive success for female jaguars of 8.13 cubs. Our observations also indicate that female jaguars can display mating behavior during cub rearing or pregnancy, representing 41.4% of the consorts and copulations recorded. We speculate that this behavior has evolved as a defense against infanticide and physical harm to the female. To our knowledge, this is the first time that such behavior is described for this species. All aggressive interactions between females involved the presence of cubs, following the offspring–defense hypothesis, that lead to territoriality among females in mammals, regardless of food availability. In the face of growing threats to this apex predator, this work unveils several aspects of its natural history, representing a baseline for comparison with future research and providing critical information for population viability analysis and conservation planning in the long term.

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