Snow Leopard IntroductionThe Snow Leopard is a medium sized feline, and one that is absolutely gorgeous. It has a very thick fur coat due to the regions where it lives. The coat is a gray or tan color with dark spots on it. They have white on the bottom of the face, the neck, and the underside of the belly. They feature very large eyes, a large head, and rounded ears.DescriptionThe paws on the Snow Leopard are very large. This allows them to have lots of power. This also offers them the ability to walk effortlessly across snow and ice. This design of their Anatomy gives them a huge advantage over prey they are chasing. They have large nasal passages which are necessary since they are taking in such thin air in those high mountain elevations.DistributionThe snow Leopard can live up to 18,000 feet above sea level. It can be extremely cold in such areas. They live in South Asia in the Mountain areas. They have a very wide distribution though. There aren’t very many of them remaining in China or Russia. Most of them are in the area of Nepal. However, their locations can shift depending on food availability. They are very adaptable and that is part of what makes them so interesting.
BehaviorFor the Snow Leopard the majority of life will be spent alone. They do pair up for mating and the females with young seem to enjoy their role. These animals can be very aggressive when they feel their home range has been invaded by others. Males have a range that is usually twice as large as that of the females. It is common for the females range to overlap in several locations.Diet and FeedingThe remote living areas of the Snow Leopard doesn’t prevent it from finding plenty of food. They do take every opportunity though to find it, and they will kill again even if they don’t need to. Due to the cold region where they live they can keep their food longer without it spoiling.They often consume a variety of small creatures such as rodents and hares. They also take down very large prey such as deer. They have the strength to do so due to their jaws so it doesn’t matter if those animals are several times larger than they are.ReproductionMating takes place at the end of winter but there is only a very short opportunity here. A pair will stay with each other for several days and mate continually during that period of time. This increases the chance of conception. It will be the falling spring when these young are born. The mother does what she can to prepare for them including finding a den for them to be born in.
She will offer them her milk for a few months and then introduce them to meat. They will be old enough to help her hunt within six months. They are able to take care of their own needs when they are less than a year old. However, they may stay with her and hunt in her area for the next year or so.ConservationThe fact that humans continue to move into the area where the Snow Leopard once lived means it is branching into new territory. They have been known to kill domestic pets as well as livestock. When that occurs they are often shot or poisoned. Most conservation efforts revolve around trying to protect their natural environment. The Snow Leopard has never been documented as killing a human so they are less of a threat than other felines.