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Snow Leopard
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Snow Leopard


Snow Leopard


Snow Leopard
Photographer: Aaron Logan

Snow Leopard Range Map (Central, South & East Asia)
Snow Leopard Range Map (Central, South & East Asia)
Latin Name Panthera uncia
Conservation Status Endangered
Location Central, South & East Asia
Colour Grey with Brown/Black Markings
Length 1 - 1.3 m (3.25 - 4.25 ft)
Tail 80 - 100 cms (32 - 39 inches)
Weight 25 - 75 Kgs (55 - 165 lbs)
Life Expectancy

Up to 21 Yrs

Main Characteristics

Snow Leopards are exceptional athletes and they can bring down prey almost three times their own size. They have a body length between 1 and 1.3 m (3.25 - 4.25 ft), a tail length between 80 and 100 cms (32 - 39 inches) and they weigh between 25 and 75 Kgs (55 - 165 lbs).

Their fur is very thick and it is grey in colour with brown/black markings. Their markings consist of spots around their neck and lower limbs and rosettes on other parts of their body. These markings help to camouflage them on the rocky slopes so they can sneak up on their prey.

They have large paws which act like snow shoes, short forelimbs and long hind limbs. Their tail is exceptionally long and they sometimes wrap it around themselves while resting to help keep warm.

Male Snow Leopards are larger than females but apart from that they are visually difficult to tell apart.

Habitat

Snow Leopards are found in Central, South and East Asia. They inhabit areas of mountain steppes and forest scrub at altitudes of 2000 - 6000 metres. The climate in these areas is harsh, cold and dry.

They are solitary animals, except mothers with cubs, and males and females have been known to hunt together during the breeding season. They each occupy a home range and this will overlap those of other Snow Leopards. They do not defend their ranges like other big cats. Where prey is abundant their ranges will be between 30 and 65 Kms (19 - 40 miles) but where there is less prey their ranges could be larger than 1000 Kms (620 miles).

Diet

A Snow Leopards diet is mainly made up of wild sheep and goats but it also consists of yak, asses, pikas, marmots, hares, musk deer, birds and domestic livestock.

They are opportunistic predators and they mainly stalk or ambush their prey.

Breeding

After a gestation period of 98 - 104 days 1 - 5 cubs , commonly 2 - 3, are born in a den. They are born helpless and with their eyes closed , opening their eyes within 7 days. At 2 months old the cubs are eating solid food and at 3 months old they begin to follow their mother around.

The cubs stay in the company of their mother until they are between 1 and 2 years of age after which they leave to find their own territory.

Females become sexually mature at 2 - 3 years of age while males reach sexual maturity at approximately 4 years of age. Snow Leopards mate between January and March and after mating the pair go their separate ways, with the female preferring to do all of the parenting herself. Due to the length of time the cubs stay with their mother, Snow Leopards mate every other year.

Predators

Their primary predator is man, but they are also preyed upon by wolves.

Subspecies

There are two subspecies of Snow Leopard:

Uncia uncia uncia
Uncia uncia uncioides

Interesting Facts

Snow Leopards are also known as:
Ounce

Snow Leopards cannot roar.

To see video footage of Snow Leopards and to read an article. Continue>



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