Snow leopards are perfectly adapted to the cold, barren landscape of their high-altitude home, but human threats have created an uncertain future for these cats. Scientists estimate that there may only be between 3,920 and 6,390 snow leopards left in the wild today. Which seems a lot but, actually when you think about it, it is not much.
Snow leopard fact file:
- Solo traveller: the snow leopard is usually solitary
- Crepuscular: dawn and dusk are the cat’s most active times
- Living large: some snow leopards have home ranges of up to 1,000 square kilometers!
- Single mums: for about 18 months, females raise their cubs – all alone! They must be brave!
- Cold and dry: the snow leopard primarily lives in arid, barren mountain areas
- Gentle: snow leopards are not known to be aggressive toward humans. Of course, if you provoke them they will probably attack you. You can’t sweet-talk them!
- Carnivorous: the cat’s main prey are ibex, argali and blue sheep. (despite their name, blue sheep are neither blue nor sheep. These slate grey to pale brown caprines are actually more closely related to goats than to sheep.)
. Too bad these cats don’t compete in long-jump competitions. Using their superstrong legs, they can leap up to 50 feet! They’re also into power walking—some travel distances of over 25 miles in one day in search of food! Must be really hungry! I wouldn’t do it!
. Snow leopards are masters of camouflage. Their spotted coats turn white in winter to match the snow. In summer the fur changes to a yellowish grey so the cats can blend in almost completely with the surrounding mountains and blooming plants! Wow!
I have adopted a snow leopard at WWF! I have grown to love these cats and I hope you like them too!