WHAT DO SNOW LEOPARDS EAT?
The snow leopard is arguabley one of the worlds most beautiful and exotic big cats, and yet we know so little about them. Worst still, their exquisite beauty has also put them at risk from extinction due to loss of habitat and being hunted for their highly prized, long, thick fur.
However, conservation projects are working hard and the more we learn about these secretive beasts the more likely we will be able to save snow leopards for futrure generations.
So what do snow leopards prey on?
Snow leopards are carnivores and actively hunt their prey. However like all cats, they are opportunistic feeders, eating whatever meat they can find, including carrion and domestic livestock.
Amazingly, snow leopards are so powerful that they can kill animals three to four times their size, such as the Bharal, Himalayan Tahr, Markhor and Argali but will readily take much smaller prey such as hares and birds.
Unusual among cats, snow leopards will also eat a significant amount of vegetation as part of their normal diet.
Snow leopards prefer to ambush prey from above, using broken terrain to conceal their approach, and can leap as far as 14 meters (46 ft). They will actively pursue prey down steep mountainsides, using the momentum of their initial leap to chase animals for up to 300 metres (980 ft). They kill with a bite to the neck, and may drag the prey to a safe location before feeding. They consume all edible parts of the carcass, and can survive on a single bharal for two weeks before hunting again.
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Based on an article by http://www.snowleopard.org/catfactsclassroom/catfacts/habitatandrange and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_leopard
Photos by http://www.pluspets.net/snow-leopard-perfect-snow/ and http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/about-massey/news/article.cfm?mnarticle_uuid=C65D5E24-96BF-57FE-A26F-02623C43A6DC