“These are the animals that are the reason why you don’t see old animals in the wild. You don’t see sick animals in the wild. You don’t see lame animals in the wild, and it’s all because of the predator: the lion, the tiger, the leopard, all the cats.” – Tippi Hedren
Snow leopards are going extinct and we humans are to blame. We are encroaching into their habitats and driving them to extinction. Here’s telling you 14 wonderful facts about snow leopards:
1. Cubs are born completely blind; they can see partially only after about nine days.
The mother tags around the cubs for almost two years.
2. Sighting a snow leopard is rare; very rare.
Snow leopards are masters of camouflaging. Only the lucky few get to see them or better still, click their pictures at dusk or down. Can you spot the snow leopard?
“Just kidding. I’m not even trying to hide.”
Try spotting the cat in photograph below.
“Come spot me in the wild if you succeeded in the first 5 seconds.”
Don’t worry if it took you several minutes. Your eyes are fine. They are so well camouflaged that a sighting makes front page news. No kidding.
3. Snow leopards like to inhabit in steep areas with cliffs and ravines.
“On my way home. Almost there!”
They are found in elevations that are above 3,000 to 5,500 meters from sea level. And still, there are no guarantees that you’d succeed at spotting one in the wild.
4. Snow leopards have the most beautiful grey or green eyes.
That’s rare in big cats.
5. Snow leopards do not sink in the snow; like never.
They’ve got natural snow shoes in the form of huge paws. God is a genius, after all.
6. Snow leopards are ‘white in winter’ and ‘yellowish grey in summer’ – the spotted coat changes with seasons.
“People don’t call us Ghosts of the Mountains for no reason.”
7. Snow leopards cannot roar.
They purr, moan, yowl, mew and hiss but snow leopards do not roar; not like other big cats.
“We like to keep it quiet; I mean the ‘killing’ thing.”
8. But they can jump as much as 9 meters; right to the top of a 3 storey building.
“And I know it.”
9. Head to rump, a snow leopard can be up to 1.15m long.
The tail can be just as long.
10. Furry tails come handy as scarves; helps them stay warm.
11. Snow leopard cubs come into this world in dens, lined with mom’s fur.
12. When they are hungry, they like to stalk and kill like most cats.
They have such power in their hind legs that it is possible for them to leap up to 30 feet in the air.
These big cats kill once every fortnight on an average. They stay with the prey for about 3 to 4 days.
13. The supreme killing machine that they are, a snow leopard can easily bring down three times heavier animals.
Their favorite meal can be a flock of Ibex or Blue sheep.
14. India has 3rd highest number of snow leopards in the world; China has the most.
15. Fewer than 6,500 snow leopards are left on the planet; most of them in zoos.
They are now a highly endangered species. A snow leopard has an average life span of about 22 years in the wild and 15 years in captivity.
“My kind is disappearing from the world but we have not waged a war.” Let’s hope our next generations live in a world that still has this wonderful species in it.