The Snow Leopard
Scientific Name: Panthera uncia
IUCN Status: Vulnerable
Weight: 46-150 pounds
The snow leopard is the smallest member of the genus Panthera, averaging 4 feet in body length. The deep chest and forequarters are muscular, and the legs are relatively short and robust with very large feet. The tubular tail is thickly muscled and proportionally and is the longest tail of any felid. The head is small, broad and rounded, with a short muzzle and high domed forehead caused by enlarged nasal cavities that are believed to assist with breathing at high altitudes. The fur is extremely dense and long, up to 5cm on the back and sides and as long as 12cm on the underparts in winter. The fur background color is dark cream to smokey grey with yellowish-cream to crisp white underparts. The body is marked with large dark grey or black open blotches, often with fuzzy edges, changing to more defined, bold open botches, running in rows along the lack and tail. There are smaller solid black blotches on the lower legs and small black spots on the head, neck, and shoulders.
Ungulates such as Siberian ibex and blue sheep constitute the most common prey items, along with musk deer, roe deer, and wild boar. In spring and summer months, small prey such as marmots, rabbits, moles, hamsters, and game birds are included.
Little information exists from the wild, but reproduction is almost certainly strongly seasonal, with births occurring from April through June. Gestation lasts 90-105 days, and litters average 2-3 cubs.