Snow Leopard

Uncia uncia

Classification

  • Domain Eukayra: All animals in the Domain Eukayra have a nucleus in their cells. Also, all animals in the Domain Eukayra are adaptable to their environment. Lastly the animal can be single cellular or multicellular
  • Kingdom Animalia: All animals in the Kingdom Animalia are Heterotrophs which means that they rely directly on their food. In addition, all animals in the Kingdom Animalia lack a cell wall on their cells.
  • Phylum Chordata: All animals in the Phylum Chordata have a notochord (a backbone). Also, all animals in the Phylum Chordata have a complete digestive system.
  • Subphylum Vertebrata: First all animals in the Subphylum Vertebrata have muscles attached to their endoskeleton. Secondly, all animals in the Subphylum Vertebrata have two to four chambers in their heart.
  • Class Mammalia: All animals in the Class Mammalia have hair at some point during their development. Also, all animals have a highly developed brain in the Class Mammalia.
  • Order Carnivora: Most animals in the Order Carnivora have an enlarged fourth upper premolar and first lower molar. In addition, all animals in the Order Carnivora have a simple stomach.
  • Family Felidae: All animals except the cheetah in the Family Felidae have retractable claws. Secondly, all animals in the Family Felidae five toes on their front feet and four toes on their hind feet.
  • Genus Uncia: The only animal in the Genus Uncia is the snow leopard.
  • Species: Uncia uncia

General Description

  • Height: Snow leopards are usually 23.5 inches high from their shoulder to the ground.
  • Length: Snow leopards are usually 1000 to 1300 mm in length with its tail being 800 to 1000 mm. its tail takes up 75% to 90% of the snow leopard's whole body.
  • Weight: A snow leopard is usually 55 to 165 pounds.
  • Color: A snow leopard is soft gray or cream in color with a white belly. Its head, neck, and lower limbs are marked with solid black or dark brown spots. Their body fur is covered with brown blotches ringed with black or dark brown, Their outer ear and back is streaked in black. The winter coat of a snow leopard is lighter in color than its summer coat.
  • Natural Range: Snow leopards are usually found in China or at the zoo depending on where you are.
  • Diet: Snow leopard's usually like to eat small mammals, birds, and animals that have hooves.
  • Habitat Description: The snow leopard lives in extreme cold, steep terrain, where humans don't easily see them. As a result It is extremely difficult to radio tag snow leopards for research purposes.
  • Predators: Snow leopards don't have many predators but humans are one predator to the snow leopard. Another predator to snow leopards are other leopards.

Adaptions

Physical Adaptions

Snow leopards have very strong legs which help it leap up to 50 feet in the air. This helps snow leopards because then they can leap to catch prey instead of having to run. They also have long tails for balance. This helps snow leopards because without a long tail, they wouldn't be able to climb trees for protection. Snow leopards have thick hair and wide, fur-covered feet that act as snowshoes in the winter. This helps them so they can run faster on the snow instead of in the snow. Snow leopards are camouflage so it's hard to see them. Being camouflage helps them sneak up on prey instead of being spotted and going on a chase. Snow leopards have small rounded ears which helps them minimize heat loss.

Behavioral Adaptions

Snow leopards avoid each other by marking their territory. Doing this provides sex and reproductive status of snow leopards. Snow leopards don't roar. Instead they have a high-pitched yowl, especially when females are in heat. Females then call out to tell the males where they are. Snow leopards learn to stalk and then ambush their prey. This helps snow leopards so they don't have to waste a lot of energy and time catching their prey. Snow leopards usually only mate during mating season. This helps their kittens because they would be more likely to survive during this time of the year. Snow leopards are usually awake during dawn and dusk. The snow leopard uses its tail to cover sensitive body parts in the cold. This helps them stay warm in the cold winter months.

References

Burton, M. (2002). Snow leopard. In International wildlife encyclopedia (3rd ed., Vol. 17, pp. 2432-2434). New York, NY: Marshall Cavendish.

Mammals | snow leopard. (2015). Retrieved March 22, 2015, from San Diego Zoo website: http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/snow-leopard


Montsion, L. 2014. "Uncia uncia" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed March 11, 2015 at http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Uncia_uncia/


Snow leopard. (2014). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from Brookfield Zoo website: http://www.czs.org/Brookfield-ZOO/Zoo-Animals/Big-Cats/Snow-Leopard.aspx


Snow leopard. (2015). Retrieved March 22, 2015, from National Geographic website: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/snow-leopard/

By: Colin Blazek