The Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) is a large feline from Central Asia and South Asia. It is also called the Ounce.
The Snow Leopard has thick whitish-grey fur with black spots on its head and neck, and larger rosette shapes on its back, sides, and tail. It has a whitish underbelly. Its nose is short. Its tail is bushy, long, and flexible. It has a strong, stocky body, with short legs and broad paws. Its eyes are pale-green or grey. Its ears are small and rounded.
It measures about 56 centimetres (22 inches) tall and 75-150 centimetres (30-59 inches) long. Its tail is 80-105 centimetres (31-41 inches) long.
The Snow Leopard is from Asia, from countries such as Afghanistan, Mongolia, China, Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and the Himalayas (Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Tibet).
It prefers cold alpine and sub-alpine zones in mountainous regions, particularly with rocky terrain. It is territorial, solitary, shy and elusive.
It cannot roar. It hisses, chuffs, mews, growls and wails.
The Snow Leopard is crepuscular – active mainly at dawn and dusk. It is a carnivore, eating animals such as sheep, goats, camels, deer, horses, and ground-dwelling birds. It also eats the meat of dead animals (called carrion).
Like other large cats, the Snow Leopard is pregnant for 90-100 days, before giving birth to 1-5 young, called cubs. The cubs are born in a rocky den or rock crevice. The cubs are born with fur, but are born blind. Their eyes open after about 7 days and they are independent after about 18-22 months.
Their average lifespan is 15-18 years.
[Location of photographs: Paris Zoo, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM