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The Snow Leopard

The Snow Leopard is not closely related to the Leopard

Scientists are still discussing the relationship of this animal to the other cats.  It has been named Uncia uncia.  However, recent DNA analysis suggests that the name Panthera uncia would be more appropriate.

If the inclusion of this species in the Panthera genus is accepted, this would make the Snow Leopard one of the Big Cats, also called the roaring cats.  This species does not roar, and is not as big as any of the others in the genus.

The DNA analysis actually suggests that this animal’s nearest relative is the mighty Tiger.

Size

An average full grown male Snow Leopard weighs about 45 Kg (100 pounds).  Females are a little smaller than this.  There is a big range in size within this species.

Man Eating

Although this is a reasonably big cat, they do not seem to attack Humans.

Diet

The Sow Leopard will kill animals several times their own weight.  The larger animals it eats include wild Goats and Sheep, wild Pigs, Deer and reasonable sized Monkeys.  However, they also eat a lot of smaller animals like hares, rats and birds.

Carnivores?

All cats are generally considered to be carnivores.  Of course, anyone who has kept a domestic pussy cat is likely to be aware that they will eat a bit of grass.  This seems to be good for them, but is not a major item of their diet.  The Snow Leopard is different and will eat quite a bit of vegetation.

Conflict with Humans

Humans keep domestic animals of suitable size for Snow leopards to eat.  Naturally the Snow Leopards will often be killed by people trying to protect their livestock.

Carrion

Unlike many cats, the Snow Leopard will eat dead animals it finds.

Fur Coats

In the past the coat of the Snow Leopard was a particularly sought after fur.  Many were killed for this trade.  More recently it is unfashionable to wear fur coats made from real animals and the trade has been reduced, but not completely stopped.

Range and Habitat

As might be expected, this animal comes from mountainous areas.  They will live in the high Rhododendron forests of places like China.

  Although they are not usually thought of as a forest animal they sometimes also live in the high pine forests.

Critically Endangered

We do not really have accurate information of the numbers of Snow Leopard, but they have certainly been greatly reduced despite the efforts of several of the governments of the twelve different countries they come from, and it is considered to be critically endangered.

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