Snow Leopard habitat
wildlife
 

Snow Leopard habitat


The Snow leopard habitat is spread over several Asian countries. It is patchy and fragmented and is made up of a mix of narrow mountain systems and isolated peaks in a region that surrounds the deserts and plateaus of Central Asia. The Snow leopard's range comprises over 2.3 million square kilometres, but only about 1.6 million square kilometres that is true Snow leopard habitat. A majority of the Snow leopard habitat is located in China and Tibet, but you can also find Snow leopard habitat in Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikstan and Uzbekistan.

Snow leopard habitat is located a high elevations, approximately 3,000-4,500 meters above sea level. In the Himalayas, the Snow leopard habitat extends even higher and you can find Snow leopard at altitudes above 5,500 metres. At the northern limits of the Snow leopard range the cats are found as low as 600 -1,500 metres above sea level. 

Snow leopard habitat is made up chiefly by temperate shrublands, tundra grasslands and steppe in arid or semi-arid regions. Snow leopards live in alpine meadows as well as in treeless rocky mountains. They can also be found in the spectacular rhododendron forests and are frequently found along steep rocky slopes. Snow leopards prefer terrain with plenty of ridges, cliffs, rocky outcrops, gullies and similar. Snow leopard habitat located in Mongolia and on the Tibetan Plateau is however made up by comparatively flat terrain.The Snow leopard habitat will sometimes extend into open coniferous forests, particularly in the Russian mountains and in parts of the Tian Shan. The Snow leopard is not very found of densely grown woodlands and will usually avoid such environments.   

The typical Snow leopard habitat might seem harsh and unforgiving, but the Snow leopard is perfectly adapted to a life in this environment. The cat has a smokey-grey fur decorated with dark spots and rosettes which make it blend in almost perfectly among snow and rocks. To shield the cat from the biting cold, its hairs are long and the animal is also protected by a thich, woolly undercoat. This unique fur is one of the main reasons behind the severe decrease in Snow leopards, since there is a high demand for fur coats made from Snow leopard skin in several countries. During fall, the Snow leopard molts and grows a winter coating that is even denser than the summer coat. The cat will then go through another molt in spring and change into its summer coat.

The footpads of the Snow leopard are covered in isolating fur that prevents body heat from escaping through the paws. The thick fur will also function as a form a snowshoe that makes it possible for the Snow Leopard to distribute its weight over a larger surface area when travelling in the snowy Snow leopard habitat. Another adaptation to the Snow leopard habitat can be seen in the nose of the cat. The nasal cavity is enlarged which makes the animal well suited for a life at high altitudes. Further adaptations to the Snow leopard habitat include strong chest muscles, shortened limbs and a tail that can become over three feet in length. The Snow leopard will wrap its long tail around its body when it is resting during the cold winter.

More info on big and small wild cats:

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Bengal Tigers Facts
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Jaguar Animal Facts
Ocelot - Ocelot cat
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Siberian Tiger Fact
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Endangered Snow Leopard
White Tigers
White Bengal Tigers
White Siberian Tigers
Baby White Tigers


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