This is a portrait of one of the most beautiful large wildcats on the planet. They live a beguilingly, mysterious life in the high plateaux and rocky slopes of central Asia. Its barren and bleak range extents from the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau going west to the Himalaya of Sikkim, Bhutan (where at 2011 the Bengal tiger has retreated to an elevation of 4,000 feet) and the Hindu Kush ranges (see photo below) of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This snow leopard portrait shows the pale green/gray eyes, strong, square muzzle and a skull that contains enlarged nasal cavities to help it breathe more easily at high altitude.
The snow leopard’s haunted, hooded eyes look into the distance and this cat knows a lot about distances as it can have vast ranges in the order of 1000 km². They can travel up to 30 kms in day. This is a special cat. There is a kind of sadness in the eyes.
The snow leopard probably eats more vegetation than any other cat, domestic or wild and I speculate that this is a technique to improve oxygen intake at altitudes where the atmosphere is thin.
The snow leopard has a beautiful, full, long and rope-like tail. When you see tails this long you know that the cat has to maintain balance under tricky conditions. This is certainly the case for this wildcat as it lives on precarious and rocky 40º inclines, chasing blue sheep with athletic abandon.
The fur is long and dense. It can be 12 centimeters long in winter on the belly. The temperatures at which this cat lives demand this sort of insulation. The fur of the snow leopard changes in length with the seasons. In winter the ears can be almost invisible.
This snow leopard portrait is by Chris Boulton Photography.
Snow leopard portrait to home page.