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Top 10 snow leopard facts

Snow leopard

We think snow leopards are pretty amazing!

Living in the steep and rocky alpine regions of Central Asia, the snow leopard is recognisable by its long tail and almost-white coat, spotted with large black rosettes.

There are up to 6,000 snow leopards in the wild, but numbers are gradually declining, with hunting and habitat loss just some of the reasons that it is endangered. Snow leopard numbers have declined by at least 20% over the past 20 years.

That's why we're working to save this brilliant cat. Find out more about how you can help protect snow leopards.

Snow leopard, Hemis National Park

Fact 1: They're up to 125 cm long

Snow leopards are between 86-125cm long - and that's not including the tail! They weigh between 22-52kg, but males will be around a third larger than females.

Snow leopard paw

Fact 2: They have their own snow shoes

Snow leopards have wide, fur-covered feet that act as natural snowshoes. These help to distribute their weight over soft snow and protect the soles from the freezing cold.

	Snow leopard and cub

Fact 3: Snow leopards use their tails like scarves

Snow leopard's tails are thought to help them balance, but they also wrap them around themselves to keep warm. Handy!

Snow leopard cub yawning

Fact 4: Snow leopards can't roar

Unlike other big cats - like lions and tigers - snow leopards can't roar.

Snow leopard

Fact 5: They can jump nine metres

Some snow leopards have been known to leap up to nine metres - that's six times their body length.

Snow leopard cubs

Fact 6: Snow leopards are born in fur lined dens

Snow leopards first reproduce at around two and a half years old. Usually two or three cubs are born in spring or early summer in a well-concealed den lined with the mother's fur.

Snow leopards

Fact 7: Snow leopards are born blind

Cubs are born blind and don't gain their sight until they're nine days old. They are fully active by two months old and stay with their mother until they're two years old. By this time they're fully independent.

Himalayas © WWF-Canon / Beyret & Benastar

Fact 8: Snow leopards live very high up in the mountains

Snow leopards are sparsely distributed across 12 countries from southern Siberia to the Tibetan Plateau.

Snow leopards live at high altitudes, usually at elevations of 3,000 to 4,500 metres - but they've been seen above 5,500 metres in the Himalayas!

Snow leopard

Fact 9: They hunt animals three times their size

Snow leopards can kill prey weighing as much as three times their own body weight. Snow leopards' main prey are the ibex, blue sheep and Himalayan tahr. One blue sheep will provide a snow leopard with food for one week.

Snow leopard

Fact 10: Their tails are nearly as long as they are

Snow leopard tails are between 80 to 105 centimetres long.


How you can help protect snow leopards