The snow leopard is a rare cat. It is estimated that there are only between 3,500 and 7,000 living on the planet today. They are found in the mountains of Central Asia and are very good climbers.
This cat has a very thick coat of fur which keeps it warm in the cold mountain climates and it's paws are very large which act as a kind of snowshoe as it travels across snow covered rocks.The color of this cat's fur is a natural camouflage for the environment they live in so they are hard to spot by humans who sometimes hunt them or animals who become their prey.
National Geographic Photos of Snow Leopard in natural habitat
The fur of the snow leopard is a valued commodity in Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia which makes this cat a target of poachers contributing to the fact that this animal is in danger of becoming extinct. Also, the cat's bones and body parts are used in some traditional Asian medicine.
This animal has the longest tail of any of the big cats. This tail helps to balance the cat as it traverses dangerous slopes. The tail is also used for a kind of blanket when the cat wraps its tail around its body when napping.
Short Video of Snow Leopards in Woodland Park Zoo
The snow leopard's most dangerous enemy is man. This animal lives in an area in which the human inhabitants are not wealthy and depend on their livestock of sheep and goats for income. When a snow leopard's natural prey (mountain goats and sheep) become scarce, they may turn to domestic livestock to sate their hunger angering the herders who will retaliate by trapping and killing the leopard.
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