FAQ’s about Snow Leopards
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Where do snow leopards live?
Snow leopards live in 12 countries in different parts of Asia. The countries are – Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Are snow leopards endangered?
Yes, there are not many snow leopards left in the wild. Because there are so few (between 3000-5000) it is not known if they will survive in their natural habitat. Why are they endangered?
The biggest threat to snow leopards are humans. Humans hunt them for their fur and their bones. Fur to wear as coats and hats and bones to be used in traditional medicines. Humans also destroy snow leopard habitat and food sources by killing the prey animals (wild sheep and goats) they need to feed on.
What enemies does the snow leopard have?
What is the snow leopard’s scientific name?
How big are snow leopards?
Snow leopards are smaller than the big cats Like lions and tigers and generally weigh between 30 and 55 kilos (60 and 100 pounds).
How have snow leopards adapted to live in their environment?
Their tail is long and thick and helps the cat keep itself warm as it wraps the tail around the body during sleep. Also the long tail helps the snow leopard keep balance as it races down rocks chasing prey like wild sheep and goats. The fur is long and thick to keep the snow leopard warm and its color of gray and white makes it almost impossible to see the cats on the rocks and in snow. They have very small ears so they don’t lose body heat from them. Their paws are very wide so it’s easier to walk in deep snow.
What altitude do they get up to in the mountains?
In the Himalayan mountains snow leopards can be found up to 4000m (17,000 feet).
How cold does it get in their home territory?
In winter it can get minus 20-30 degrees centigrade where snow leopards live.
What do snow leopards eat?
Snow leopards will eat wild sheep and goats and a little animal like a rabbit called a marmot. They will also occassionally eat birds. If they can’t get wild animals they will go to villages and kill sheep and goats belonging to the village.
How many cubs does a snow leopard mother have?
Between 1 and 5 cubs can be born to a mother but the most common number is two.
When and where are the cubs born?
Mating between snow leopards occurs in late winter, around January to March and the cubs are born in summer, June to July. The mother finds a rocky den to have the cubs.
What do the cubs look like?
The cubs are very cute. At first they are very tiny and almost black. They slowly become lighter and get the rosettes (the round marks on the fur) at about 2 months.
At what age do the cubs leave the mother?
The cubs will stay with the mother until about 18 months of age. For the first four months she feeds them with milk, then they start to eat meat. After about 6 months she starts to teach them to hunt.
How old do snow leopards get in the wild?
If a snow leopard is not killed by humans it can live to between 9 and 11 years of age.
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT SNOW LEOPARD CONSERVATION
You can join and support these organisations –
Melbourne Zoo “Friends of Snow Leopards”. Find out what the snow leopards at Melbourne Zoo are up to.