Snow leopards are found in many areas in central Asia including eastern Russia, Mongolia, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic and in the Himalayas in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and India. The actual areas are small and greatly fragmented from each other.
Snow leopards live in rocky mountainous areas with shrubs, grasslands, steppe or coniferous forests abovethe tree line. They can live at elevations up to 16,000 feet.
- Snow leopards have a head-body length of up to five feet (1.5 m) with a thick, bushy tail adding another three feet (1.0 m).
- Males weigh 100-120 pounds (45-54 kg) and are 30% larger than females. Females weigh 60-88 pounds (27-40 kg).
- Their fur is a smoky gray with a tinge of yellow on the edges with dark gray rosettes on the upper body in an indistinct pattern. They have white fur on the belly, chest and chin areas.
- They have a small head, heavy brow and short ears.
What Does It Eat?
In the wild: Sheep, ibex, musk deer as well as marmots, hares, birds, rodents and sometimes domestic livestock.
At the zoo: Special feline diet and meat with bones to help keep their teeth clean.
What Eats It?
Snow leopards are one of the top predators in Central Asia. Few, if any, natural predators exist, except for the young or infirm.
Snow leopards are solitary except during mating and females with cubs. Snow leopard territories overlap without conflict.
Snow leopards reach sexual maturity at two to three years. Breeding season is from January to April. The female gives birth to a litter of one to four cubs after a gestation of 97-103 days. The cubs are born blind, about a foot long weighing a little more than a pound (450 g). They have darker fur than adults. At five to six weeks they come out of the den but stay with their mother until they are 18-22 months old. Snow leopards live 15-18 years in the wild and up to 21 years in captivity.