11 Fun Facts about Snow Leopards
- A native to the mountain ranges of Central Asia, the snow leopard, (Panthera uncia or Uncia uncia) is a moderately large cat.
- They may be slightly smaller than the other big cats, but exhibit a range of sizes from 27 and 55kg, with an occasional large male reaching 75 kg and a small female being under 25 kg.
- To minimize heat loss, their bodies are stocky, their fur is thick, and their ears are small and rounded. To distribute their weight better for walking on snow, their paws are wide.
- The snow leopard was first described by Schreber in 1775, in the Kopet-Dag Mountains in Turkmenistan and Iran.
- In summer, snow leopards usually live above the tree line on mountainous meadows and in rocky regions at altitudes from 2,700 to 6,000 m (8,900 to 20,000 ft).
- In winter, they come down into the forests to altitudes around 1,200 to 2,000 m (3,900 to 6,600 ft).
- Although they prefer to use existing trails made by other animals, they walk more on broken terrain and can travel without difficulty in snow upto 85 cm (33 in) deep.
- Using the momentum of their initial leap, they will actively pursue prey down steep mountainsides, for upto 300 m (980 ft).
- Their lethal killing style is a furious bite to the neck and then drag the prey to a safe location before feeding.
- Numerous agencies are working to conserve the snow leopard and its threatened mountain ecosystems.
- In India there are around 200-600 snow leopards left.
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