One of the most strikingly beautiful of all cats is the snow leopard - sometimes called the ounce or once. It 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.
The snow leopard has a head and body length of about 1.2 - 1.5m (4-5ft) with a tail measuring 90cm (35.5ins). The thick fur is about 5cm long on the back - but almost twice that length on the underparts of the animal.
The coat is a soft ashy-brown colour with black rosette markings. This long, soft coat of fur provides the snow leopard with effective and much needed protection from the bitterly cold winds encountered by this extremely rare and endangered species!
Owing to the sad fact that some humans like to wear animal skins, the snow leopard's coat of soft and beautifully marked fur caused the species to be a target for the fur trade. The International Furriers Association has now banned the use of snow leopard fur, so snow leopard skin clothes are made strictly on the black market. It should be remembered that it takes the skins from up to seven dead leopards to make one coat for one human!
Read More: Territory and Hunting