Do you know what do snow leopards eat? Surely, a very few people are aware of snow leopard’s diet. This article covers all the facts relating to its diet and what do snow leopards eat. These types of leopards sustain under extreme cool temperatures where humans cannot even think about to live.
It is because of this reason that only few people are lucky enough to see this beautiful large cat and take snow leopard pictures. Even if you get into the territory of these cats, you won’t be able to take pictures of snow leopards very easily since these are solitary predators and are not aggressive about their territorial jurisdiction. Planet Earth was the first program in which the snow leopard pictures were introduced for the first time and were made public. Now let’s come to the snow leopard’s menu.
What Do Snow Leopards Eat?
Snow leopards are carnivorous cats. These types of leopards are opportunistic feeders in that they ingest every eatable that comes in their way.
They feed on sheep goats, hares, chukar, birds, pikas, cock, rabbits, marmots, markhor, boars, tahr, bharal, rats, carrion, argali, Himalayan, yak, urials, gorals, langur monkeys, woolly hares, deer, gazelles, ibex and mice.
They have the ability to forage animals three times of their owl size. Sometimes, they are found to eat vegetation like grass or twigs which other cats do not. They are known for their surprise attacks in that they don’t attack its prey unless it comes within 20 – 50 feet.
Snow leopards are not aggressive toward humans; however, when these big cats hunt down domestic livestock, they come into directly conflict with humans. This is one of the chief reasons of its rapid population decline. Now you’re well aware of what do snow leopards eat. Let’s come to its habitat!
See also: Snow Leopard Facts For Kids
Leopard is by far the most abundant member of the cat family because it shows highly adaptable hunting feeding behavior.
Leopards generally prey on a variety of small prey species—primarily small birds and mammals—and they achieve this by a combination of stealth, speed, and opportunism. Leopards are generally solitary hunters and are almost nocturnal; they either ambush their prey or stalk to within close range before making a short fast rush.
Unlike other cats, leopards are expert climbers, and they often drag their prey up trees, out of the range of scavengers. Since leopards largely prey on a wide variety of small prey species, they don’t often come into conflict with other carnivores such as tigers, hyenas, African wild dogs, and lions, which depend on larger prey.
These leopards are also known to take on domestic animals due to which they are often interacted with humans. One of the primary reasons for its reduced population is that humans whose livestock are frequently attacked, hunt them intentionally.
Snow leopards are not the best defenders and they also do not attack humans. These animals grab the prey and take back to their habitats or safe location to eat afterwards. Snow leopards have the ability to chase animals for up to 980 feet.
Where Do Snow Leopards Live?
Snow leopards are usually found in the high mountains of Central Asia and Himalayas in particular. The territorial range of these leopards is about 100 sq. miles (260 sq. km). they are extensively found in the mountains of Hindu Kush, Tian Shan, Kashmir, Sayan, Siberia, Pamir, Khangai, Tagh, Karakoram, Mongolia, Tibet, Nepal, Russia, Pakistan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Bhutan, China and Kazakhstan.
Read More: Why are Snow Leopards Endangered?
The snow leopard inhabits all throughout the range of high mountains in different parts of central Asia. It ranges from the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau westward running towards Himalayas of Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and India to the Hindu Kush and Karakoram mountains of Pakistan. However, snow leopards have shifted to the northeastward of the Tien Shan and Pamir ranges in China and former Soviet Union extending further to the Khangai ranges of Sayan Mountains and Atlai of Mongolia.
The total range is about 2.5 million square kilometers, but it did not inhabit throughout the expanse. The snow leopards are spread in dispersed islands and mountain ranges, embedded in an extensive high desert plateau.
They are more readily found in rocky cliffs, ridges, and ravines as they are termed as rock specialists. They live in sparsely vegetated regions all along Himalayas. With the beginning of the summer season, snow leopards are found in elevations of 2,743 feet to the snowline at 5,488 to 6,097 meters. They are often found at an elevation of 600 to 1,500 feet. Wolves are the only contenders of snow leopards in these areas. They’re also known to overlay territories of common leopard and dhole (Asiatic wild dog).
Read More: Top 14 Amazing Facts about Snow Leopards
What Do Snow Leopards Look Like?
Snow leopards have exceptionally noticeable tail; the tail is almost as big as their own body length. These cats have thick-skinny white and grey fur together with black markings on all its body. The paws are wide enough to assist them to walk easily on snow. Unlike other cats, these types of leopards have pale green colored eyes.