Snow leopard is a native animal of mountain ranges of central and southern Asia, including India. It is also known as Ounce and has a scientific name of "Panthera uncia". Snow leopards can live for a maximum of 18 years in then wild. In captivity, their lifespan increases to 20 years.
There is some disagreement regarding the genus to which the snow
leopard belongs. Some taxonomists believe that it belongs to the genus
Panthera, while others believe that it has own genus, Uncia.
No Connection with Leopard
Despite the common misconception, the snow leopard has no relation with
the leopard. Infact, some people believe that it has a close connection
with cheetah. Both of them show similar physical traits to quite an
extent and both are incapable of roaring.
The coat of a snow leopard of India is gray in color and is covered
with ringed spots and rosettes of black or brown. The tail is striped
and the fur is soft as well as beautiful. The tail as well as the bottom
part of the paws of snow leopards is covered with fur. Snow leopards may
weigh upto 75 kg and the length of their head and body may reach 59
inches. Their tail is also quite long and measures between 31 and 39
inches. The head of a male snow leopard is much squarer and wider than
that of the female.
During summer season, snow leopards prefer to stay either above the
tree line on mountainous meadows or in the rocky regions of the Indian
subcontinent, which are upto 6000 m in height. Winter season is the time
for them to come down to an altitude of somewhere around 2000 m. The
home range of a snow leopard varies to quite an extent. For example, in
Nepal, they need only 30-65 sq km to survive, while, in Mongolia, their
range increase to 1,000 sq km. In central and south Asia, they are found
in Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic,
Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
We mostly find snow leopards leading isolated lives and rarely forming
any groups. Usually, they kill animals, which are thrice as big as they
The mating season of the snow leopard extends from January to May and
the gestation period is usually of 98 to 103 days.
Snow leopards are carnivores and have a diet consisting of ibex,
bharal, markhor, urial, boars, marmots and other small rodents.
Snow leopards have been listed under CITES, Appendix I, Endangered
Species Act. Their total population (throughout the world) ranges
between 3,500 and 7,000 in the wild and 600 to 700 being in the various
zoos of the world.
Snow leopards are mainly found in the following national parks of