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Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia)

Snow Leopard | Uncia uncia photo
Snow leopard in the San Diego Zoo (USA)
Photograph by Aaron Logan. Some rights reserved.


The Snow Leopard is pale grey with white underside. The body is covered with rosette shaped markings (dark rings with lighter fur inside the ring). The head, neck, and lower limbs are covered with solid spots. They have thick fur that varies from 2.5cm long on the back to 8cm long on the belly. The tail is very long (almost as long as the body) and densely furred. The tail can be curled round the face and body for warmth when they are sheltering in extremely cold weather. The paws are large and furry to assist with walking in the snow and protect from cold.


Head and body length: 100cm - 130cm. Tail length: 80cm - 100cm.


mountain steppes, coniferous forest scrub, alpine meadows, rocky areas. Found at altitudes from 2000m to 6000m. In winter, may hunt in forests below 1800m.


Their prey is mainly mammals including wild sheep, wild boar, hares, deer, marmots, mice and other small mammals. Also feeds on domestic livestock. Prey is either attacked or ambushed.


The Female Snow Leopard gives birth to a litter of one to five young (average two or three) after a gestation period of about 100 days. The young are born in a fur-lined den amongst rocks. The cubs are born blind and open their eyes after about nine days. The young are weaned after 3 - 6 months and are independent after about a year.


Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan.

Conservation Status

The conservation status in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals is "endangered".


Snow Leopard | Uncia uncia photo
Snow Leopard at Potters Park Zoo in Lansing Michigan
Photograph by Trisha Shears. Some rights reserved.
Snow Leopard | Uncia uncia photo
Snow leopard (Uncia uncia),Thoiry Zoo, France.
Photograph by Vassil. License: Public Domain.