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Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Majestic Snow Leopard

Image: wikipedia

The Snow Leopards (Uncia Uncia or Panthera Uncia) are rare and elusive creatures that are native to the high, rugged mountain ranges of South and Central Asia. They are usually shy and well camouflaged, and barely ever seen. The base color of their beautiful fur varies from white, smoky-gray or yellowish-tan, patterned with dark gray to black rosettes and spots.

The Snow Leopards are well adapted to the cold climate of their homeland. Their bodies are stocky, their fur is long and thick, and their ears are small and rounded, all of which help to minimize heat loss. They have wide and well-padded paws which act as natural snow shoes and also helps minimize heat loss. They use their long and mobile tail for balance and also as a mantle in order to stay warm in the middle of winter. Snow leopards have powerful legs and are tremendous leapers, able to jump as far as 14 meters (46 ft).

The Snow Leopards exhibit a range of sizes, generally weighing between 27 and 55 kg. Males are larger than females, with average weights of about 75 kg compared to about 25 kg for females. The body length can range from 75 to 130 centimeters with the tail adding an extra 80 to 100 cm to that length.

Snow leopards prey upon whatever meat they can find, including carrion and domestic live stock. These powerful predators can kill animals 3 times their weight, such as the Bharal, Himalayan Thar and Markhor, but will gladly take much smaller prey such as marmots, hares, and game birds. Oddly among cats, Snow Leopards are known to eat a substantial amount of vegetation, including twigs and grass.

Image: wikipedia

Unfortunately, Snow Leopards sometimes have a taste for domestic animals, which has led to killings of the big cats by herders who don’t like losing livestock to them. With great sadness, these endangered cats appear to be in dramatic decline because of such killings. Other reasons are due to poaching driven by illegal trades in fur and in body parts used for traditional Chinese medicine. Vanishing habitat and the decline of the cats' large mammal prey are also contributing factors.

Did You Know?
The Snow leopards vocal cords are undeveloped and as a consequence they cannot roar like other big cats....

1 comment:

Aschatria Xyana said...

I think I read about them but something was said they are really rare and very territorial cats.

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