Listen to an audio podcast about Snow Leopards.
Central, South and East Asia
Open conifer forest to altitudes of 16,500 feet. Steppe, rocky shrubs and mountainous areas
Diet in the Wild:
Wild sheep, musk deer, goats, marmots, hares, birds
Diet at the Zoo:
Nebraska feline diet
This wooly furred big cat weighs between 50 to 150 pounds and measures 4 to 5 feet in length. Its tail is between 3 to 3½ feet long. Thick, smoky gray fur with dark rosettes cover its stocky body. Its paws are broad, acting like snowshoes.
Snow leopards are expert climbers. This is made possible by its strong chest, and short forelimbs. In proportion to its size, snow leopards have one of the longest tails and it functions as both balance and paw warmers. Snow leopards are solitary cats.
Snow leopards come together only during mating season and the male plays no part in raising its young. Females are in heat up to 7 days. If it does not mate, it will be in heat again in about 60 days. Gestation period is about 100 days and a litter of 2 – 5 are born between April – June. Cubs are blind until about a week old, and start crawling in about 10 days.
Because of its unique pelt, Snow leopards were hunted almost to extinction. It is endangered and its number is only 4400 to 7500 in the wild.