Snow leopard

Snow leopard

One of the most incredible animals you will find in the world is the snow leopard . Due to the few specimens that exist today being threatened with extinction, this cat is not as well known as other animals in the same situation.

For this reason, we want you to learn about its habitat, customs, what it eats and how to help save it from extinction.

How is Snow Leopard?

Snow leopard
Snow leopard

This feline, also known as Irbis or by its scientific name, Panthera unia is a medium-sized animal. It can easily reach 75 kg , although it is common for specimens to average between 30 and 60 kg . Its body differs from other animals of the same species in that it is more robust and shorter, but in return it has a longer tail.

The fur is very thick – as it lives in cold regions – and is usually gray (in various shades) and yellow or brown with dark spots all over the body except for the chest and underparts, which are white. It happens.

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About Eyes are usually brown or light green . Their ears are small and covered with hair to protect them from the cold.

One of the most attractive physical aspects of the snow leopard is some of the very wide paws that allow it to walk in the snow without sinking.

And unlike other cats, cannot roar . What it can do is squeal or meow.

snow leopard habitat

The home of the snow leopard is usually the mountains. Specifically, the mountainous regions of Siberia, Mongolia, India, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Mongolia o Pakistan.

It lives in areas between 2000 and 6000 meters above sea level in very cold climates. They are animals that are difficult for humans to see, because of their ability to camouflage themselves. Where more are known to exist is in China, with estimates of between 2000 and 2500 specimens (roughly half of its species), while there are hardly any left in Uzbekistan (hardly 20–50).

snow leopard habits

Like most cats, the snow leopard is characterized by being an animal that likes solitude. In fact, it remains solitary until breeding, at which time it remains in pairs for a few months (mating and raising pups).

This animal is very territorial and fierce if one enters its territory. To define its territory, it usually uses urine or rubs itself against trees or rocks to release its scent and warn other animals.

When hunting, they do it first thing in the morning or late afternoon, spending the night in shelter and protection from the cold.

What do snow leopards eat?

Snow leopard is a born hunter. He is a good hunter and usually eats other animals that he finds in the area where he lives, such as rodents, mammals, etc. These can quadruple his size, but he is still able to come out on top Is. What he eats the most are wild goats, argali, Himalayan tar, baral…

Sometimes, when there is a shortage of food in that area, it usually goes to places where there are cattle or herds and eventually kills some (often many farmers attack their animals in order to make them kill).

It also commonly eats grass, although grass by itself is not a suitable food for this cat.

How does it reproduce?

The feline breeding season is between January and June . In those months, the male and female come together as a pair, hunt large animals, and mate. Males reach puberty at four years, while in the case of females they do so at 3 years.

Lives between 90 and 110 days and usually produces between 1 and 3 pups (usually two). These pups will grow rapidly, and will need to be weaned and started on solid food at two months. In three months they are already able to hunt.

At about one and a half years of age, the young leave their mother to begin a solitary life.

Because it is in danger of extinction?

The snow leopard is at risk of extinction due to its indiscriminate hunting . They do this for their skin or bones, which are used a lot in Asian medicine. However, this is not the only threat that causes a decline in the number of cats (estimated to be less than 5.000 specimens). The other reason is habitat loss, due to the fact that construction and livestock means there is less and less space; And also climate change, which affects the survival of the animal.

How can we help you?

Helping the snow leopard is not easy, but it can be done by looking for associations that have this animal as a project . Another way is to raise awareness among the residents of their habitat so that protected areas can be established where the animals can live safely.

snow leopard curiosity

There are some curiosities about the snow leopard, such as the related koala . It is made of fat and it acts as a scarf to shelter him during the coldest nights. Also, it helps you maintain your balance while going through steep or difficult areas.

Thanks to its constitution, this irbis can give one of the long jumps of cats, powered by the legs and tail (strength and balance).

This animal has a life expectancy of about 15-18 years, but in captivity (in zoos where you can find it) it has a longer life expectancy, about 21 years.

It is one of the cats you have seen in movies and series , although it is not easy to associate with the snow leopard. For example, in the movie Kung Fu Panda, the archenemy is actually an Irby. Another appearance is in Philip Pullman’s trilogy, The Dark Matters, when the character of Lord Asriel has this cat as a Domon.