This video shows the beautiful snow leopard beautifully, in the wild, on top of a high ridge in the Upper Spiti landscape in Himashal Pradesh, India. The wonderfully fit looking and athletic snow leopards that you see in the video are a mother and her two cubs who are grown up.
You can see them sniffing the ground for a scent that really interests them. Once one of them has sniffed the ground he/she demonstrates the flehmen response. The mouth is open to allow air containing scents and pheromones to be breathed in and transferred to the vomeronasal organ (also called Jacobson’s organ) which is situated in the roof of the mouth and accessed by a duct that is just behind the upper front teeth.
The scents that interest this cat are probably pheromones from other snow leopards that carry information about those snow leopards. Perhaps there are territorial issues.
Scientists place camera traps at major points along trails and junctions which the cats are likely to frequent.
I think this is a great video of this elusive and endangered wild cat species. They live in barren, desolate, cold places and feed on blue sheep a lot of the time. They are fantastic rock climbers.
When the flehmen response is done by a domestic cat, some people who are unaware of this behavior believe the cat is sneering at them, or angry, or something like that. This is far from the truth. The snow leopard flehmen response is more pronounced. The mouth is open wider and the large tongue flops out. Cats don’t do this. Their mouth is opened slightly and they remain still while the Jacobson’s organ processes the scent.
All cats will hold the position for several seconds. You can almost see the brain turning over the information while this happens.