Snow Leopard

Scientific Name

Panthera uncia

Class

Mammalia

Order

Carnivora

Range

Central and East Asia

Habitat

Mountain ranges

Estimated Wild Population

Less than 3,500
IUCN Conservation Status: Endangered IUCN Conservation Status: Endangered

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Physical Description

Snow leopards can reach more than four feet in length and weigh up to 160 pounds. They have thick, spotted fur that keeps these feline predators warm in their cold environment and provide camouflage against rocky terrain. During freezing temperatures, they wrap their tail around their face for additional protection. Sheep, boar, deer, rodents and other small mammals make up the bulk of the predator's diet. Snow leopards are largely solitary felines, coming together only to breed. An average litter includes two or three cubs. Females give birth in a shelter lined with their own fur, and the cubs remain secluded for up to three months before venturing outside. Young remain dependent on their mother for another year after leaving the den.

Interesting Fact 1

Snow leopards use their long tails for balance when running, jumping, or leaping.

Interesting Fact 2

Snow leopards live at the highest altitude of any cat species.

Interesting Fact 3

These cats can jump 20 feet into the air and leap 50 feet across the ground to navigate mountainous terrain.

Caring for Carnivores

Pepper Family Wildlife Center, Lincoln Park Zoo’s new home for African lions and other carnivores, is coming soon! The renovation of this state-of-the-art space, guided by years of behavioral data, includes habitat features that promote positive animal welfare.

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