The conservation status of the Snow Leopard is now ENDANGERED. They are found in central, south and eastern Asia. They inhabit areas of mountain steppes and forest scrub at altitudes of 2000 - 6000 metres. The climate in these areas is harsh, cold and dry.
Snow leopards are exceptional athletes and they can bring down prey almost three times their own size. They have a body length between 1 and and 1.3 m (3.25.-4.25 ft), a tail length between 80 - 100 cms (32-39 ins) and weigh between 25-75 kg (55-165 lbs). Their fur is very thick and it is grey in colour with brown/black markings. These markings consist of spots around their neck and lower limbs and rosettes on other parts of their body. The markings help to camouflage them on the rocky slopes so they can sneak up on their prey. They have large paws which act like snow shoes, short forelimbs and long hind limbs. Their tail is exceptionally long and they sometimes wrap it around themselves while resting to keep warm. Male snow leopards are larger than females but apart from that they are visually difficult to tell apart.
They are solitary animals, except mothers with cubs, although males and females have been known to hunt together during the breeding season. They occupy a home range and this will overlap those of other snow leopards. They do not defend their ranges like other big cats. Where prey is abundant their ranges will be between 30 and 65 kms (1940 miles) but where there is less pray their ranges could be larger than 1,000 kms (620 miles).
A snow leopard's diet is mainly made up of wild sheep and goats but it also consists of yak, asses, pikas, marmots, hares, musk deer, birds and domestic livestock. They are opportunistic predators and they mainly stalk or ambush their prey.
Snow leopards mate between January and March and after mating the pair go their separate ways with the female preferring to do all of the parenting herself. After a gestation period of 98-104 days, 1-5 cubs, commonly 2-3 are born in a den. They are born helpless and with their eyes closed, opening their eyes within 7 days. At 2 months old the cubs are eating solid food and at 3 months old they begin to follow their mother around. The cubs stay in the company of their mother until they are between 1 and 2 years of age after which they find their own territory. Due to the length of time the cubs stay with their mother, snow leopards mate every other year.
The primary predator of the snow leopard is man, but they are also preyed upon by wolves.
There are two subspecies of snow leopard" Uncia uncia uncia and Uncia uncia uncioides. Snow leopards are also known as "Ounce". Snow leopards cannot roar. They are very beautiful.