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Nature

Ghost of the Mountains.

snow leopards in action
Snow Leopards in action. Photo by strichtpunkt from Pixabay.

The ‘ghost of the mountains’, or elusive snow leopard is a solitary animal so there is no term for a group of leopards.

They operate on a home range basis and are not aggressively territorial. Ranges are determined by the amount of food available, so in sparse areas with little prey they would be somewhat large.

But what do they eat?

The diet of the snow leopard would typically include blue sheep(bharal) of Tibet if in the Himalayas or mountain ibex in other areas. Snow leopards can kill prey up to three times its size but is opportunistic and so will take smaller game such as marmot, hares and game birds as well.

blue sheep(bharal)
Bharal at rest. Photo by ardilladecolores from pixabay.

There are estimated to be about 4 000 snow leopards in their habitat which are the mountains of South and Central Asia. Unlike other big cats snow leopards cannot roar but they do growl, cough, hiss and spit and are active from sunset to sunrise. Where more isolated, without human presence they may be active during the day.

snow leopard teeth
Snow Leopard Incisors. Photo by Marcellangthim from Pixabay.

Breeding season is marked by increased scratching, marking, face scraping and vocalizations. The gestation period is 90 to 103 days and produce 2 to 3 cubs which remain hidden for the next 4 to 6 weeks. Then they stay with their mother for 18 to 22 months and will be sexually mature between 2 to 3 years of age. Our cubs can expect to live for between 10 to 12 years.

Snow leopards have almost 5 inches of fur on their stomachs…

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