Pictures of Snow leopards are all about what they look like so this page shows pictures together with a written description for completeness.
The first picture might not necessarily be the best aesthetically but it is certainly one of the best to show some of the main features of the snow leopard. Two outstanding characteristics are the massive paws and the long and thick tail, both of which are clearly seen here.
The huge front paws are larger than the hind paws. The paws act as snow shoes and to provide grip on rocks. This animal lives mostly on rocky inclines of 40º astonishing though that seems. Deep snow is not an obstacle to travelling long distances for the snow leopard. On example of this is recorded in the book, Wild Cats of the World. It recounts the journey of a snow leopard who walked through snow 85 cms deep for 10 kms without stopping – a testament to real stamina and strength as well as the effectiveness of those paws!
The tail is also extraordinary. You can see how long and thick it is in the pictures above and below. The tail is thicker than a human forearm and as long as 90% of body length. It is actively used to maintain balance when moving and hunting. Bearing in mind the inherent danger of moving rapidly over very steep, broken and rocky terrain, this is essential.
The snow leopard has enlarged nasal cavities to help breathe in the rarefied atmosphere high in the mountains which causes the forehead to be more domed. Snow leopards normally inhabit areas 3,000-4,500 metres above sea level. The body is a little smaller than that of the leopard and is muscular, long and relatively low to the ground (56 centimetres to the shoulder). Is this designed to help with balance by providing a low centre of gravity?
The eyes are pale green – see below (or grey), with a haunted look and the fur a smoky spotted grey. The ears are small, wide apart with the usual ocelli (an eyelike marking common to wild cats) on the back of the ear flap (pinna). The ocelli are black with a pale centre.
The background colour of the fur is smoky grey to a greyish buff while the underside of the body is an off white. The black spots are of high contrast and cover the head, neck, and lower limbs (although the spots can cover most of the limb as in the heading picture). The spots become rosettes (irregular shaped circles with a centre darker spot or no spot – see picture below). The markings tend to merge along the back to create lines. The fur is nothing short of fantastic and luxurious being longer on the chest and belly as can been seen in the header photo. The fur is from 5 centimetres (back, sides and tail) to over 12 centimetres long (on the belly).
As expected the markings as shown in these pictures of snow leopards are unique to each animal (the same applies all the wild cats and tigers are indentified through their patterns – opens in new window).
Pictures of Snow Leopards: All on this page are Attribution 2.0 Generic