For Students

FAQ’s about Snow Leopards

For KIDS – see KIDs page on this Blog.

Map of snow leopard countries. Map by Snow Leopard Conservancy.

Map of snow leopard countries. Map by Snow Leopard Conservancy.

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?

Closeup of snow leopard fur.

Closeup of snow leopard fur.

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?
Only humans.

What is the snow leopard’s scientific name?
Uncia Uncia.

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).

Snow leopard country in Nepal. Photo by Sibylle.

Snow leopard country in Nepal. Photo by Sibylle.

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.

Cubs at Melbourne Zoo, March 2009. Photo by Herald-Sun.

Cubs at Melbourne Zoo, March 2009. Photo by Herald-Sun.

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.


You can join and support these organisations –

Snow Leopard Trust

Snow Leopard Conservancy

Anyone can join Melbourne Zoo Friends of Snow Leopards Network.

Anyone can join Melbourne Zoo Friends of Snow Leopards Network.

Melbourne Zoo “Friends of Snow Leopards”. Find out what the snow leopards at Melbourne Zoo are up to.


4 Responses to For Students

  1. Neeraj Mahar says:

    Hye I m frm India. snow leopard is also found here but due to human and environmental changes now this animal is in lurch so pls help this animal by ur contribution.
    Uttarakhand (India) is also one of ht habitat of this ‘grey host, from where i belongs

  2. quinn says:

    I love snow leopards

  3. Leythro Dorji says:

    I never knew that Snow Leopard is one of the endangered species in the world until my English tutor told me. As a human being we are civilized enough to conserve our natural heritage yet people hardly do it. Let us wake up now before it is too late. It is really sad to lose such a beautiful creature like snow leopard. Humans are the ultimate force that can restore the haven of these poor creatures. Let’s save them before our world is doomed. I am a nature lover and I can’t see these things going the other way round.

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