Snow Leopards are one of the most beautiful and mystical wild cats.
Snow leopards are between 86 – 125 cm (34 – 50 inches) long – and that’s not including the tail. Their tails are between 80 to 105 cm (31 – 41 inches) long.
They weigh between 22 – 52 kilograms (48 – 115 pounds), but males will be around a third larger than females.
Snow leopards have long, thick fur, and their base color varies from smoky gray to yellowish tan, with whitish underparts. They have dark grey to black open rosettes on their bodies, with small spots of the same color on their heads and larger spots on their legs and tails.
Snow leopards have light green or gray eyes, unusual for big cats, who usually have yellow or gold eyes.
Snow leopards are very rare in most of their range, an estimated 3,500 to 7,000 snow leopards are left in the wild, with 600 – 700 in zoos around the world.
Snow Leopards are an endangered species.
Snow leopards are found at altitudes between 3000 and 5,200 meters (9,800 and 17,000 feet) in the high, rugged mountains of Central Asia including the Himalayan Mountains in the countries of Nepal, India, Pakistan, Mongolia, China Afghanistan and Russia.
Snow Leopards like steep, rocky terrain.
Snow Leopards a solitary animals meaning they like to live alone.
In the Summer months snow leopards will stay high up in the mountains, in the Winter months they will come down from the mountains and enter forests.
Snow leopards first reproduce at around 2 and a half years old. Usually 2 or 3 cubs are born in spring or early summer in a well-concealed den lined with the mother’s fur.
Cubs are born blind and don’t gain their sight until they’re nine days old. They are fully active by two months old and stay with their mother until they are 2 years old.
Snow leopards can kill prey weighing as much as three times their own body weight. Snow leopards main prey are the ibex, blue sheep and Himalayan tahr. One blue sheep will provide a snow leopard with food for one week.
Snow leopards have wide, fur-covered paws that act as natural snowshoes. These help to distribute their weight over soft snow and protect the soles from the freezing cold.
Snow leopard’s tails are thought to help them balance, but they also wrap them around themselves to keep warm.
Some snow leopards have been known to leap up to 9 meters (30 feet) – that’s 6 times their body length.
Unlike other big cats – like lions and tigers – snow leopards can’t roar. But they make other sounds such as growling, hissing and meowing.