Death-Defying Snow Leopard Leaps off Hundred-Foot Cliff to Catch a Mountain Goat

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Written by Hannah Crawford

Updated: November 10, 2023

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Alert Snow Leopard looking for prey.
© Jim Cumming/

Falling snow is one thing. But falling leopards and mountain goats are quite another! In the video below, we see a wild hunt between a snow leopard and a mountain goat take a nasty twist or fall. 

A hunt and chase in the African desert can be an exciting one. With wide-open planes, the chase is spectacular and ultimately all about who can run the fastest. But, now we are moving to the snowy mountains. While running fast is absolutely a part of the hunt, it is not everything. With the rocky terrain and the freezing cold, it is about who can best maneuver.

In the short YouTube clip posted below, we see a snow leopard on top of the mountain rushing down at incredible speeds, trying to catch a mountain goat. Just as the mountain goat has reached the edge of a large rock, the leopard leaps up in the air to jump on top of him. But, little does he know that rock is actually the edge of a cliff. 

As soon as the snow leopard pounces on top of the mountain goat, they immediately tumble off the cliff with incredible force. We are able to hear them fighting still in the air as the gravitational pull hurls them toward the ground. We can even hear a loud thud when they hit the bottom.

Alpine Goat standing among rocks in the mountain.

Just as the mountain goat has reached the edge of a large rock, the leopard leaps up in the air to jump on top of him.


You’d think after literally falling off of a mountain, you’d not only want to stop fighting, but you may not even be able to move. This is not the case with these two fighting animals. The snow leopard is not willing to part with this meal that he is convinced he will have. As they continue to fight, they continue to tumble further down the mountain. 

It is astounding how far these two animals fall. Once they reach the bottom end, the mountain goat is clearly hurt or dead. And the leopard has won this fight, or rather the fall. 

Snow Leopard Facts

Alert Snow Leopard looking for prey.

Snow leopards do not roar like other big cats do.

©Chris Desborough/

Like the name given to this leopard, the snow leopard is built for the cold and can endure freezing weather. It has been studied that snow leopards can withstand temperatures of -40°C (-40°F).

These snow leopards eat animals such as sheep, deer, antelope, yaks, gazelles, small birds, and other small animals such as mountain goats. Oddly enough, one of the top predators for snow leopards can, in fact, be not only leopards but other snow leopards. 

Is it Normal for Snow Leopards to Chase Prey Down Cliffs?

Snow leopards can run at top speeds of 40 miles per hour across steep mountain terrains, and jump across cliff gaps spanning up to 50 feet. They primarily prey on bharal, also known as blue sheep, and are known for their incredible athleticism when hunting their prey. They are adapted to run down steep mountains, much like the bharal and the mountain goat, which was the unfortunate target of the snow leopard in this video.

View Snow Leopard.

Snow leopards have adapted to run down steep mountains.

©Aleksandr Denisyuk/

Snow leopards are known as the ghosts of the mountain and they prefer steep landscapes like cliffs, rocky outcrops, and ravines. With their short forelimbs and long hind legs, they are able to navigate these steep and rugged environments. They are accustomed to chasing prey down steep slopes and cliffs.

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About the Author

Hannah Crawford is a writer at A-Z Animals where she focuses on reptiles, mammals, and locations in Africa. Hannah has been researching and writing about animals and various countries for over eight years. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Communication\Performance Studies from Pensacola Christian College, which she earned in 2015. Hannah is a resident in Florida, and enjoys theatre, poetry, and growing her fish tank.

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