Snow Leopard

Snow leopard camouflaged in Himalayan rock strewn valley.The snow leopard is a specialist mountaineer. It has short legs and its ears and testicles are drawn deep into its multi-layered fur coat. In extreme cold, it will wrap itself in its long lush tail, like a woolly scarf. Its lungs are large and the nose cavity is enlarged, to make the most of the thin air and lack of oxygen.

During winter prey has become scarce with small animals in hibernation, so their primary prey is the bharal a large mountain sheep.

Snow leopards are seldom so exposed in daylight. In direct sun, they quickly overheat beneath their very thick fur. They live high in the Himalayas, preferring bare rock as their spotted coat is well camouflaged.

Snow leopards are an endangered species, the threats are varied; hunted for their pelt, bones and other body parts for Asian medicines, habitat loss, and they are killed by herders in some parts of their range particularly when accused of killing domestic animals.

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