Our Majestic Snow Leopards
Snow leopards are slightly smaller than the other big cats but, like them, exhibit a range of sizes, generally weighing between 27 and 55 kg (60 and 120 lb), with an occasional large male reaching 75 kg (170 lb) and small female of under 25 kg (55 lb).
They have a relatively short body, measuring in length from the head to the base of the tail 75 to 130 cm (30 to 50 in).
However, the tail is quite long, at 80 to 100 cm (31 to 39 in). They are stocky and short-legged big cats, standing about 60 cm (24 in) at the shoulder.
Snow leopards have long, thick fur, and their base color varies from smoky gray to yellowish tan, with whitish under parts.
Unusually among cats, their eyes are pale green or grey in color.
Snow leopards occupy alpine and subalpine areas generally 3,350 to 6,700 meters (10,990 to 22,000 ft) above sea level in Central Asia.
The snow leopard is currently restricted to Asia in Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Snow leopards show several adaptations for living in a cold, mountainous environment.
Snow leopards’ tails are long and flexible, helping them to maintain their balance, which is very important in the rocky terrain they inhabit.
Their tails are also very thick due to storage of fat and are very thickly covered with fur, which allows them to be used like a blanket to protect their faces when asleep.
Snow leopards are carnivores and actively hunt their prey. Like many cats, they are also opportunistic feeders, eating whatever meat they can find, including carrion and domestic livestock.
They can kill animals more than three to four times their own weight, such as the bharal, Himalayan tahr, markhor and argali, but will readily take much smaller prey, such as hares and birds.
They are capable of killing most animals in their range with the probable exception of the adult male yak.
Unusually among cats, snow leopards also eat a significant amount of vegetation, including grass and twigs.
WHERE DO THEY LIVE?