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Snow leopard, also known as the snow leopard or panther, is a great mystery cat who knows how to purr, and does not know how to growl. Outwardly resembles the leopard, but a little less than its more squat, long hair is different from the pattern in the form of large dark spots and a long tail. This is a relatively large predator. its body length of 2.00 – 2.30 m, including 0,90 – 1,05 m falls on the tail, the height of the shoulders approximately 0.60 m and weight of the animal from 25 to 55 kg, and males are always larger than females .
The head of these small cats eyes yellow-green color with a round pupil, in the jaws of 30 acute and strong teeth. Vibrissae black and white, no longer than 10.5 cm. The ears are short, wide, slightly rounded, without brushes on tips, winter is almost imperceptible in a long fur. The body is flexible at low legs, feet wide, with retractable claws. The tail is very fluffy and long, when jumping takes the role of balance. Sight, smell, and hear very well developed.
The general background animal color brownish-gray, the lower part of the sides, belly and inner sides of the limbs lighter. Throughout the body scattered rare, large (7-8 cm) ring-shaped stains in the form of sockets, as well as continuous small spots of dark gray or black color. IRBIS have very long hair cat among reaching 5.5 cm in the winter. This warm coat allows them to thrive even in the most severe conditions of high mountains.
Snow leopards live in the high and inaccessible mountains in the territory of Central Russia, Mongolia, Tibet and western China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan to the Himalayan parts of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Their territory may stretch for several hundred kilometers of mountain forests to altitudes of 5500 meters above sea level. During the summer, followed by the main prey, predators raised in the alpine and subalpine zones, and in winter descend from the highlands in the middle belt of mountains – often in the area of coniferous forests.
IRBIS lead a solitary lifestyle, adhering to its vast territory, which is regularly bypassed by the same route. To live in such estates males only allow 1 – 3rd female. Happy animals resting in the den, or bask in the sun, and at dusk out on the hunt. Hunt Panthers snow alone. Guard of prey from watering, trails and solonetzes they Skrad on bent legs of the animal shelter creep. As to the potential victim is still several tens of meters, predator jumps out of ambush, quickly overtaking her jumps 6-7 meters. When a miss if you can not immediately catch prey, snow leopard pursues her at a distance of no more than 300 meters. Large ungulates he tries hard to grasp by the throat, and then break the neck or strangle. After killing the animal, snow leopard drags trophy under a rock or some other secluded place, where starts the meal. Enough sated, food debris usually throws vultures and other scavengers, and never more to them will not be returned. For once eats up to 3 kg of meat.
Feed snow leopards mainly hoofed animals: argali, roe deer, deer, wild boars and mountain goats, and can cope with the animals without difficulty, three times their own weight. In early summer, mainly preying on females and young. Also catch rodents, rabbits and birds. The latter mainly lie in wait during the night. The lean years are sometimes found near the settlements and attack pets. On the territory of their habitat snow panther almost do not feel competition from other predators.
The breeding season snow leopards occur in late winter or early spring. At this time the females in the most remote places arrange lair. Pregnancy they lasts from 90 to 110 days, and give birth, usually once every 2 years. Kittens are born blind and helpless from April to June. Their number in the litter – usually 2-3, much less frequently – 4-5. newborn weighs 500 grams, and a body length of about 30 cm. After a week in children’s eyes opened about six months they are fed breast milk, although with six weeks of age are starting to get the meat additive. Life experience and skills to hunt obtained from the mother, because the father does not participate in the upbringing of the offspring.
For a long time people were shot without mercy massively snow leopards because of the valuable fur, which is not only pride, but also a curse snow panthers. After all of these cats from leather outfits were once extremely popular in the fashion world. Today hunting snow leopards banned throughout the world, but even in spite of this, expensive animal skins can still be found in the stores of Mongolia, China and Thailand. As a result of a decrease in illegal hunting snow leopard population in many regions. In order to prevent the extinction of a species, snow leopard is listed in the Red Book of Russia and the International Red Book. In the wild, these wild cats live 10 – 13 years.