Snow Leopard

Snow leopard (Panthera uncia)

A snow leopard’s large paws help keep the cat from sinking into the snow. A very long, thick tail used for balance and warmth and a flat, short snout are two of the distinctive features of the snow leopard. Snow leopards have dense, long white to smokey-grey color fur with patterned grey to brown rosettes and spots marking the body throughout the lifespan. Thick, wooly white fur up to 12 cm (5 in) in length covers the belly. Short forelimbs and long hind limbs enable agility while a well-developed chest and enlarged nasal cavity aid in breathing in cold climates.

Snow leopard

Figure 1: Snow leopard

Snow leopards are shy, elusive cats known for their solitary nature. They are most active at dawn and dusk, which is called a “crepuscular activity pattern”. Snow leopards regularly patrol home ranges that can cover hundreds of square kilometers.

The snow leopard most often hunts wild sheep and goats. The two most important prey species for snow leopards are bharal and ibex. They will also sometimes hunt livestock when domestic animals are available and wild animals are not.

Snow leopards live in high, rugged mountains and are usually found between 3,000 and 5,400 meters above sea level.

Images of snow leopards

These are images from our research cameras that CatCam visitors have identified as containing at least one snow leopard. Click on a thumbnail to see a larger image


Gurung, K.K., & Singh, R. (1996). Field Guide to the Mammals of the Indian Subcontinent: Where to watch mammals in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. London: Academic Press.