The snow leopard is related to the common leopard of Africa and Asia, but because its way of life and general appearance are so different it is regarded as a separate species.

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Territory and Hunting

The snow leopard lives in the remote mountainous regions of Central Asia, from Pakistan and Afghanistan to parts of Russia and China - including the lonely Altai Mountains and the Himalayas, where in summer it hunts at altitudes of up to 6,000m (about 19,500ft). During the harsh winter weather, the snow leopard follows the example of its prey and descends to lower levels of around 1,800m (about 6,000ft). The prey species include wild sheep, marmots, and other rodents, hares and ground-dwelling birds.

It is at this time of year that the snow leopard will attack and kill domestic cattle - or may itself be killed by hunters or herdsmen, although generally it will avoid anything to do with humans.

Snow leopards are powerful, agile animals capable of making huge leaps to cross ravines or clear other obstacles.

Usually a solitary creature, it leads a lonely life wandering the mountains, although the female leopard may be accompanied by cubs. These are born about 100 days after mating takes place, with two or three cubs in a litter.

Read More: Threats to the Snow Leopard

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