Snow leopard (Uncia uncia) observing prey. By Vladislav T. Jirousek | Shutterstock.com
Snow leopard (Uncia uncia) observing prey. By Vladislav T. Jirousek | Shutterstock.com

About snow leopards or ounces.

Snow leopards are the only big cats that don’t roar. Despite having a vocal tract similar to that of other felines like the leopard, the lion or the tiger, their vocal chords are shorter and prevent them from roaring.


They have large legs full of hair that distribute their weight on the snow to be able to walk on it, protecting them from the cold and diminishing the sound they make.


They have a huge tail they use to keep their balance when running after prey on rocky or snowy slopes. Their tail also helps them get some extra warmth when they wrap it around their body during sleep.


Despite their small size (they are smaller than other big cats), snow leopards can jump vertically up to 15m and hunt animals three times their size.


These animals have a cavity in their nose that warms up the freezing air before it goes to the lungs, as well as short round ears to prevent heat loss.


They are very solitary and elusive animals that live far from humans in remote areas. This makes it very difficult to learn about them and their behavior.


This animal’s fur is soft and thick during the warm season, and grows denser and extra thick in winter, when it gets much colder.


They live in steep areas that help camouflage the pattern of their coat better to be able to sneak up to their prey.


They hunt prey every once in a while and they can keep the bodies (oftentimes bigger than them) in tunnels made in the snow to feed on them for several days.


Females look for crevices in the hillsides where they can hide to give birth and protect their cubs without having to remain alert at all times.


Each female can have up to 1-5 cubs per litter, but the average is 2. These remain with her until they are 2 years old, having learnt to hunt and fend for themselves. Many cubs die for a variety of reasons, including starvation due to the lack of prey.


Each snow leopard has its own territory and its size depends on the amount of food found in the area. These felines patrol their areas marking them with their scent, which they also use to identify other leopards for mating.

Rare and Elusive Snow Leopard on snow covered hillside. By Dennis W Donohu | Shutterstock.com
Rare and Elusive Snow Leopard on snow covered hillside. By Dennis W Donohu | Shutterstock.com
COMMON NAMECONSERVATION STATUS
Snow leopard or ounceEndangered
SCIENTIFIC NAMESIZE
Panthera uncia75 – 150 cm (30 – 60 in)
FAMILYWEIGHT
Felidae27 – 55 kg (60 – 121 lb)
ORDERLIFESPAN
CarnivoraAn average of 10-12 years in the wild
CLASSGESTATION PERIOD
Mammalia93 – 110 days
POPULATIONDIET
An estimated 4,080-6,590 specimensIt is carnivore and eats mainly rabbits, squirrels, wild goats, deer, birds, alpine choughs, Himalayan tahrs, shrews, marmots, alpine ibex and markhors.
HABITATRANGE
Mountains with a height of up to 6,000m, usually remote, steep, and covered with snow or very arid.Remote mountains of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan,Tajikistan, Uzbekistan.

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