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Everything You Need to Know About Snow Leopards
Scientific Name: Panthera Uncia
Typical Weight: up to 120 pounds
Height: 4-5 ft tall
Food Preference: Meat (Carnivore)
Leg Strength: leap close to 50 feet
Tail Length: Approximately a meter in length (80-100cm)
- Snow Leopards live in the mountain ranges of Central Asia. This range extends from and includes countries between Afghanistan up to Russia and across to China, as well as Bhutan. The rough uneven terrain of the mountain ranges allow for the snow leopard to catch its prey by surprise and with the limited routes to escape to, dinner is all but guaranteed. China is home to the majority of snow leopards with numbers close to 60%. The Himalayan mountain range which extends across china's border is an ideal home for Snow Leopards and explains why china hosts such a large percentage of their population. The elevation you may find them, especially in the Himalayas is between 3000-5500 meters above sea level.
- The Snow Leopard has a beautiful thick grey coat covered with dark spots and dark grey colored patterns called rosettes. The rosette is a type of rose shaped pattern found on the skin or furs of some animals. They also have a dense undercoat to keep them insulted and warm. The tail can grow between 80 to 100 cm and are used to balance their weight while traveling across uneven terrain. It can also be used as a way to stay warm by wrapping it around the body. The paws of the Snow Leopard are very interesting because of their relatively large size. They act as replacement snow shoes and dissipate the weight of the body, for easier movement through the snow.
- Snow Leopards prey on the blue sheep which is found in the Himalayas as well as parts of Tibet. The Ibex ( a type of wild goat) and the Argali sheep are also preyed upon and can be found in most areas around Central Asia. Smaller creatures such as Marmots, Birds, and Hares are also fair game and should sleep with one eye open.
Status: ENDANGERED (AT RISK OF EXTINCTION)
- The estimated population is said to be less than 7000 with numbers steadily declining every year. The World Wide Fund for Nature or WWF is the world's leading conservation organization. They have taken steps to preserve and protect the Snow Leopard and many endangered animals currently at risk of extinction. For the Snow leopard, a number of factors has played a role in their decline which continues to this day. Local farmers are forced to kill Snow Leopards in order to protect their livestock (sheep, goats, horses). Animals like the Argali Sheep and the Ibex are hunted by local communities which makes it harder for Snow Leopards to hunt their preferred prey. Climate change as well as increased human settlement has also had an impact on their survivability.
If you want to learn more on what efforts are being taken to insure this beautiful creature continues to have a home, visit https://www.worldwildlife.org/ or the many other organizations dedicated to the conservation of nature. The world is filled with unique and beautiful creatures of all shapes and sizes and i hope that continues to be the case in the future.