How long is a snow leopard’s tail?

Do snow leopards kill humans?
Stupendous and gentle snow leopard. The fabulous rope-like tail helps balance on 40 degree mountain slopes. Photo: Tony_Gardner on Flickr.
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The snow leopard has one of the longest tails of all the cat species. It can be as long as the head and body and it is rope-like. Fortunately, I have a reference book, Wild Cats of the World, which tells me precisely how long the tail of an adult snow leopard is, and importantly the examples come from a wide range of places. I also include the tail lengths of females and males. My thanks for this wonderful book. Buy one if you are interested in the wild cat species.

Here is the information:

Snow leopard tail length in millimeters
Snow leopard tail length in millimeters. Chart: MikeB
Snow leopard biting tail
Cub biting tail of parent. Picture: Snow Leopard Trust.

References:

China:

  • V.G. Heptner and A.A. Sludskii in Mammals of the Soviet Union 1992.
  • T.H. Shaw Economic fauna (Mammals) 1962
  • Y.T.S Gao and S. Wang and M.L. Zhang and Z. Y. Ye and J.D. Zhou in a Fauna Sinica 1987

Nepal:

  • R.M. Jackson and G.G. Ahlborn Observations on the ecology of snow leopard in West Nepal 1988
  • M.K. Oli in Winter home ranges of snow leopards in Nepal 1997

India/Nepal:

  • H. Dang The snow leopard and its prey 1967

Kashmir and Baltistan:

  • A.E. Ward Game animals of Kashmir and adjacent provinces 1923

Mongolia:

  • T.M. McCarthy in Ecology and conservation of snow leopards, Gobi brown bears and wild Bactrian camels in Mongolia 2000.

The snow leopard has a bushy tail described as being “thicker than a man’s forearm”. It is also as long as 75 to 100% of the cat’s head and body length. The cat is quite low to the ground and stands at only 56 cm at the shoulder. One of this cat’s most striking features is the “hooded, hauntingly pale eyes, which always appear to be gazing into the distance”. These are the words of Fiona Sunquist in her book (with Mel Sunquist): Wild Cats of the World page 378. Each snow leopard can be identified by their markings. They have massive paws which are well suited for gripping rocky, steep inclines and for walking through deep soft snow. They have a great capacity to jump. One observer recalls seeing a snow leopard leaping “not less than 15 meters uphill over a ditch”. Their tail is so magnificent because they need it for balance while hunting in the mountains.

SOME MORE ON THE TAIL OF THE CAT:

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