Range and Habitat: Found in the rugged mountains of Central Asia, China
Life Span: 10 to 12 years in the wild, up to 22 years in captivity
Status in the Wild: Vulnerable
Threats to Survival: The primary threat to snow leopards is illegal poaching. Other factors include illegal or unsustainable hunting of wild goats and sheep, natural prey for the snow leopard, and habitat loss.
- Snow leopards are solitary, elusive animals. Males and females come together only for breeding season. Young will remain with the female for up to two years, then they will strike out on their own.
- The snow leopard has many adaptations that allow them to survive in the high mountain regions. Their coat is extra thick in the winter, their paws are extra-large which act as snow shoes as they move through the snow, and their thick tail is useful for balancing as well as wrapping around their body for warmth. Their fore limbs are short while their rear limbs are longer, which aids them in traveling through their steep environment.
- Snow leopards can take down prey three times its size. Unfortunately, their natural prey is decreasing and they now often kill domestic animals for food, which leads to local farmers killing the snow leopard in retaliation.