The snow leopard is found in the high mountains (Himalayas, Altai and Hindu Kush) of Central Asia. This includes many countries (Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan). The snow leopard's range decreases over time as it becomes more endangered.
Snow leopards are rarely seen but when spotted, they are seen roaming rocky outcrops, cliffs and ravines.
They can be up to 8 feet long, including their long tails. Their fur is grey to buff and covered with dark ringed spots. Its thick fur covers its tail and even the bottoms of its paws. This helps it survive in its cold, snowy habitat.
Snow leopards are most active at dawn and dusk. These leopards have a broad home range covering about 100 square miles because of the lack of enough prey.
Snow leopards hunt wild blue sheep, ibex, wild boars, gazelles, hares, markhor, bobak, tahr, marmots, hares, pica, mice, and chukor partridge. They stalk their prey like a housecat stalks a mouse, but they can pounce 50 feet.
Only real predator is man.
Snow leopards live alone except to mate. Females are pregnant for about 3.5 months (gestation) and have 1-4 cubs in late spring to early summer.
Snow leopards have lived up to 15 years in captivity. No one knows their lifespan in the wild. They are very endangered.
Species: Uncia uncia
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Amsel, Sheri. "Snow Leopard" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2023. February 9, 2023
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