Snow leopard, belonging to the category Panthera, called Panthera uncia Schreber, is a feline with Asian origins, it comes from the mountain ranges of the central area of the continent and is quite large but not enormous. Huge, or at least great, is the danger of extinction to which it is subjected. In the areas where he now lives, protected, he has many aliases: shan (in Ladakhi), irves (in Mongolian), waawrin prraang (in Pashto), bars or barys (in Kazakh), ilbirs (in Kyrgyz) and barfani chita (snow cheetah, in Urdu).An animal at risk and very feline is also the Cougar, do you know him? It is also called puma concolor
Snow leopard: description
This feline is among the smallest in the category of adults, but from area to area its dimensions vary considerably. The weight ranges from 27 to 55 kg but there are males that reach 75 kg and females so slender that they do not touch 25 kg. The possible lengths are also very different, from 75 cm to 130 cm in length with tails to be added, for another meter.
As rarely happens, the Snow leopard has light green or gray eyes, uncommon among felines. Its fur is long and thick, the background can be both smoky-gray and brownish-yellowish with areas that tend to white located in the lower part of the body. Then there are superimposed dark gray rosettes or even black and smaller spots always of the same color that decorate the head, the legs and even the tail.
Snow leopard: habitat
To find the Snow leopard we must reach the plateaus or high-altitude valleys in the mountainous areas of Central Asia, among the host countries we find Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. By high altitude I mean that strip above the tree line, between 3350 and 6700 m of altitude.
For this reason, the body of the snow leopard seems designed to withstand the environmental and climatic conditions it finds in these areas. It is squat and covered with a thick fur, the ears are small specially rounded to minimize heat loss. Wide paws are the best way to distribute weight on snow covered surfaces and you can't miss one layer of fur also between the fingertips.
The conformation of the muzzle of the Snow leopard, short, and the rounded forehead, the large nasal passages to breathe, are morphologies suitable for breathing at high altitudes, finally, the long and flexible tail of this feline on one hand makes it maintain balance, on the other it serves as a blanket when he sleeps. In the map we can see the areas where the snow leopard usually lives.
Snow leopard: video
Luckily with a video we can see the behavior of Snow leopards since they are very solitary types, active above all at sunrise and sunset, very difficult to find even in the areas where they are widespread. The same goes for another Leopard equally difficult to meet and in some areas even extinct, the Clouded Leopard
Snow leopard: feeding
To live and maintain temperature in such cold areas the Snow leopard it must be fed and is definitely a carnivorous animal. They hunt its prey and eat from top to bottom without discarding anything or almost, it does not disdain carrion or even domestic animals. With his handsome physique he is capable of killing even animals four times larger than him even if he usually chooses hares and birds or other small prey. Among the big ones there are also goats and wild sheep, among the small ones, marmots, rodents and birds, and various types of domestic livestock.
When hunting the Snow leopard it captures prey with ambushes from above, kills them with a bite in the neck and then drags them to a sheltered place devouring them. Rare among felines, the Snow leopard it also eats vegetables, such as grass and twigs.
Snow leopard: protected areas
The Snow leopard since 1972 it is in his Red List of Threatened Species, as an endangered species. Today, in addition to those that survive free, in nature, there are 600-700 in zoos, but let's look at the protected areas scattered around the countries already mentioned, belonging to its habitat.
Among these we find in India the Nanda Devi National Park and the Valley of Flowers National Park, both in Uttarakhand and UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Nepal, on the other hand, there is the Sagarmatha National Park, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Mongolia the Snow leopard lives in the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, in the mnôgov 'Province, while Russia also has the Chakassia Nature Reserve, located in the Republic of Chakassia.
If you liked this article keep following me also on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and ... elsewhere you have to find me!
Related articles that may interest you:
- Endangered amphibians
- Golden eagle in flight: a spectacular video
- Marbled cat
- Giraffe of Madagascar