This article is about 10 interesting facts about snow leopards that you should know today. Usually, when we think of leopards, we think of dangerous animals that live in hot places like Kenya, Tanzania, and Southern Asia.
You may already know that they are very strong and can pull up a treed prey that is much bigger than they are. You might also think of yellow fur with black spots.
In short, most of us don’t think about them very often.
As a species (Pantera pardus), they have several subspecies that are listed as endangered by the IUCN. These subspecies are the Amur Leopard, the Javan Leopard, the South Arabian Leopard, the Central Asian Leopard, and the Sri Lankan Leopard.
The Snow Leopard, whose scientific name is Panthera uncia and whose population is steadily going down, is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. However, it is not a leopard at all.
In reality, there isn’t another big cat on the planet that is much like them. Here are 10 interesting facts about snow leopards that you should learn today.
10 interesting facts about snow leopards
#1. Snow leopards live in Central Asia
In our list of 10 interesting facts about snow leopards, we will talk about their geography first. They are found in 12 countries, including India, Pakistan, and Mongolia. They live in the steep, rocky highlands of Central Asia.
People think that China has the most of them because its western, mountainous Himalayan region is a great place for these beautiful cats to live.
But the species is endangered, and it’s getting harder and harder to see one in the wild. It doesn’t help that they live in harsh, rocky highlands that are hard for people to get to. The most likely place to see one is in Hemis National Park in Ladakh, India.
In Ladakh, there are conservation efforts that offer snow leopard treks. The money from the treks goes to help protect the animals.
Go at the end of winter or at the start of spring. They move down to the valley floor when it snows a lot, and there aren’t many animals to eat. This makes them easier to spot. Now, let’s move to more facts about a snow leopard.
#2. They have a great camaflouge
They are really good at hiding where they are. Because of their long fur and markings that seem to change shape when they move, they are hard to tell apart from other big cats like tigers, leopards, and jaguars, which have more obvious markings.
#3. Their tails can be worn as scarves as well.
They have ears on their heads and bushy tails that help them survive in their harsh environment.
Compared to other big cats, their ears are small and flat against their heads. This helps them keep their bodies heat. Clearly, we cannot ignore this one among the facts about the snow leopards.
They also have different-shaped heads, which lets them have bigger nasal passages. So they can get enough oxygen at higher altitudes and take in more air this way.
Their long tails are thick with fat and have a lot of fur on them. This helps them keep their balance on steep, rocky ground and lets them be worn as scarves. While they sleep, they use their tails to keep their faces warm.
People often see them chewing on their tails… Scientists don’t know why they do this, but they think they might just be playing.
#4. They prey on steep slopes
Among other fun facts about snow leopards, let’s talk about how they prey. They like to stalk their prey from above and chase them down slopes. They have very strong legs and can jump about 50 feet long and 20 feet high with the help of their long tail. This makes them very good hunters with a lot of skill.
#5. They are more like snow tigers than leopards
Well! Whether or not you believe this fun fact about a snow leopard, it’s true. In fact, they are more related to tigers than to other leopards. The two big cats are both in the Panthera genus, but they have differed for more than two million years.
Tigers and snow leopards are also in the Panthera genus, but lions, jaguars, and they have more in common than tigers and snow leopards. The clouded leopard and the Sunda clouded leopard are also leopards, but they are in a different genus called Neofelis.
#6. High Altitude Acrobats
They live in high mountain areas, usually between 3,000 and 4,500m above sea level. These animals like places like cliffs, rocky outcrops, and ravines that are steep and broken up. They have short front legs and long back legs, which help them move quickly and get around in their steep, rough environments.
#7. Only 4500 to 7000 of them are left in the wild
This one may not be among the fun facts about snow leopards, but we must mention it here. Between 4,500 and 7,000 of them are thought to live in the wild. Scientists don’t agree on whether or not they are in danger. In either case, they are definitely at risk.
There are a lot of things that are already hurting them. Every year, about 450 of them die because of humans. Poachers kill some, but farmers kill most of them trying to protect their animals.
People are building more and more farmlands on the leopard’s land to make room for it. They will eat livestock when they get the chance, so farmers who are trying to protect their herds often kill them.
On top of that, the Himalayas are warming three times faster than the rest of the world, which is causing big problems for the big cats’ homes.
#8. They have bright blue eyes
They have blue, green, or grey eyes, which is different from most big cats, with yellow or orange eyes. Experts think this might help them fit in with their surroundings. Thus, while talking about facts about snow leopard, we cannot ignore the colour of their eyes.
#9. Snow leopards don’t roar
The snow leopard is a lot of things. They can jump up to 50 feet, have big paws that let them walk through deep snow, and blend in well. They can’t roar, though…
The vocal cords of big cats have a certain ligament. This ligament can stretch and bend, making the deep, powerful sound we all love. They have this ligament, but because they don’t have a layer of fat, they can’t use it to make a roar. Even though their vocal cords aren’t fully developed, they can still hiss at you.
#10. They are crepuscular
This one completes our list of 10 facts about snow leopards. Good news for those who take pictures of animals! The snow leopard is most active early in the morning and late in the evening, at dusk and dawn, just as the light looks especially beautiful.
This is how lions, ocelots, and the American woodcock act, among many other well-known mammals. They will switch to being active at night if they live in an area where people live.
In summary, we hope you enjoyed these 10 interesting facts about snow leopards. These surely are cool animals that do need our attention. So, this completes our fun facts about snow leopard list. Don’t forget to share the article too.
Keep reading: FUN FACTS ABOUT LEOPARDS. NUMBER 20 IS BIZARRE
Parvaiz Yousuf is a senior SEO writer and editor with an experience of over 6 years, who also doubles up as a researcher. With an MSc zoology degree under his belt and possessing complete Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knowledge, he works as a science journalist for a US-based website and Asian Scientist (A Singapore-based magazine). He also works as Director of Wetland Research Centre, Wildlife Conservation Fund YPJK since 2018. Besides, he has several publications to his name on cancer biology and biochemistry in some reputed journals such as Nature & International Journal of Molecular Sciences, & magazines such as Science Reporter, BUCEROS BNHS, and has an abiding interest in ornithology. He also worked as a Research Associate for JK Policy Institute.