Thursday, January 24, 2013

Snow Leopard


Snow Leopard | Snow leopard is one of the beautiful big cat found on Earth. They are distributed in the following countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. They live between 3,000 and 5,500 meters above sea level in the rocky mountains of these countries. The montain range includes Hindukush, Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kashmir and the Himalayas. It is also found in the Siberian region couthern. The total population of Snow leopard is not exactly known. It is believed that around 3000-5000 snow leopards live in the wild. 

Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:     Mammalia
Order:     Carnivora
Family:     Felidae
Subfamily:     Pantherinae
Genus:     Uncia (disputed) Gray, 1854
Species:     U. uncia

Snow leopards are smaller than other large cats, but, like them, exhibit a range of sizes. Snow leopards have long thick fur, and their basic color varies from smokey gray to yellowish brown, with white belly. They have dark gray to black open rosettes on their body with small spots of the same color on their heads and larger spots on their legs and tail. Unusually for cats, their eyes are light green or gray in color. The Snow leopard has a short muzzle and domed forehead, with unusually large nasal cavities that help animals breathe the thin, cold air of their mountain environment. Snow Leopard sounds are hissing, puffing, stables, growls and wails.  

Snow leopards show several adaptations for living in a cold mountainous area. Their bodies are stocky, their fur is thick, and their ears are small and round, all of which help to minimize heat loss. Their paws are broad, which distributes the weight better for walking on snow and have fur on their undersides to their grip on the steep and unstable surfaces to increase, but also helps to minimize heat loss. Snow leopards' tails are long and flexible, helping them to their balance, which is very important in the rocky area where they live coverage. Their tails are also very thick due to fat storage and are covered with very thick coat that allows them to be used as a blanket to protect their face during sleep.  


In the summer, Snow leopards usually live above the tree line on mountainous meadows and in rocky regions at an altitude of 2,700 to 6,000 m in winter, snow leopards come down into the forests to an altitude of about 1,200 to 2,000 m. Snow leopards preferably broken terrain and can travel easily in the snow to 85 inches deep, although Snow leopards prefer existing routes used by other animals to use. The Snow leopard leads a largely solitary life, although mothers rearing cubs in dens in the mountains for longer periods. An individual Snow leopard lives in a well-defined home range, but not aggressively defend its territory affected by other Snow leopards. 


Snow leopards are common in big cats in that they have a well defined birth peak. They usually mate in late winter, characterized by a marked increase in the mark and call. Snow leopards have a gestation period of 90-100 days, so the cubs are born between April and June. The mother gives birth in a rocky crevice or den lined with fur shed from her bottom. Throws vary from one to five cubs, but the average is 2.2. The cubs are blind and helpless at birth, but already with a thick coat, and weighs 320 to 567 grams. The eyes open around seven days, and the cubs can walk after five weeks and are fully weaned by 10 weeks. Even if they are born they have full black spots and into rosettes as they grow up. 


Like other cats, Snow leopards use scent marks to their territory and common travel routes to indicate. These are usually produced by scraping the ground with the hind legs for the deposit of urine or scat, urine spraying but also in sheltered places of the rock. Snow leopards are crepuscular, most active at sunrise and sunset. They are known as highly secretive and well camouflaged.The snow leopards are carnivores and highly intelligent hunters. Their prey consists of small animals such as hares, birds to large animals wild goats, sheep, deer. They usually ambush their prey and kill with a bite in the neck. The first jump during the hunt can go to 15 meters.

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