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Snow Leopard

Range:

Asia - from southern Himalayas westward through Pakistan and north to the Russian mountain ranges.


Habitat:

Coniferous shrub 9,800 feet to a maximum of 18,000 feet and as low as 2,000 feet elevation in the summer. Areas with juniper bushes and spruce and birch forests on mountain slopes. Also open country with rocky outcrops.


Characteristics:

The coat is luxuriantly dense and long (1 inch on body and 2 inches on tail, and almost 3 inches on underside). It is a pale gray with black spots arranged in open rings or rosettes. The ears are small and white with black edges; dark at the bases. The underparts are almost pure white. Its head is smaller than a leopard's. The body looks longer in relation to the head. The tail is about three feet long. Their feet are broad and thickly furred over the pads, acting as snow shoes.


Snow Leopard Click to View Bigger Picture

Behavior:

This cat is solitary, very elusive and generally crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk). If game becomes scarce, it may travel great distances in search of it. It is a superb jumper, making leaps of up to 20 feet from a standstill. Vocalizations range from yowls, hissing and growls to rare roars. Loud, territorial calls can travel over long distances.


Reproduction:

Mating occurs in late winter or early spring. Gestation is 90-100 days with usually 2-4 cubs in a litter. The young are born in spring, remaining with the mother until the end of the first winter. The den is a cave or rocky cleft. In captivity, snow leopards in the more northern latitudes tend to have litters slightly earlier than those further south.


Interesting Facts:

Word for snow leopard in other languages:

Mongolian - Irbis

Tibetian - Sah

Hindi - Barfani chita

Nepali - Heung chituwa


About Our Animals:

The Zoo currently houses two snow leopards.

  • Nema (female): born May 4, 1998 received December 6, 2007
  • Chimeegui (male): born April 16, 2012 at Hogle Zoo

Snow Leopard Click to View Bigger Picture

Conservation:

An estimated 3,500-7,000 left in the wild and approximately 600-700 in zoos around the world.


Did YOU Know?
Snow leopards use their long tail as a muffler to help keep their faces warm during cold temperatures.

Snow Leopard
Range
Class: mammal
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Uncia
Species: uncia
Length: Body: 3-4 feet; tail: 3 feet
Height: At shoulder: 2 feet
Weight: 70-80 pounds
Length: Body: 3-4 feet; tail: 3 feet
Average Lifespan: 15-20 years
Wild Diet: Blue sheep, deer, ibex, markhor, marmots, pheasants. Now also domestic stock because villagers are going higher into the mountains to find grazing land for their sheep and goats.
Predators: Man
This is an ssp animal
USFWS Status: Endangered
CITES Status: Appendix I
Where at the Zoo? Asian Highlands


Learn more about mammal or animals from Europe & Asia!
Or, cross-reference the two!

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