Discover How Far and How High Snow Leopards Can Jump

Written by Erica Scassellati
Published: November 23, 2023
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Snow leopards are beautiful creatures perfectly adapted for cold climates and high altitudes. Their powerful bodies give them an advantage when hunting ibex, deer, and other mammals. Snow leopards’ muscles allow them to achieve impressive feats when jumping vertically and horizontally. Discover just how far and high snow leopards can jump.

Species Overview — Snow Leopard

Snow leopards (Panthera uncia) are a species of large cats that make their homes in the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. Despite their name, snow leopards are more closely related to tigers than leopards.

These carnivorous creatures typically live in high alpine areas, at altitudes up to 18,000 feet in elevation, writes the World Wide Fund for Nature. Snow leopards are well adapted to the cold weather this high elevation brings.

They have thick, insulated fur and a long tail that they wrap around their body for warmth. Snow leopard fur can be 5 centimeters long on the back and sides and almost 12 centimeters long on the belly. Additionally, a snow leopard’s wide, fur-covered paws act as natural snowshoes for the animal.

Snow leopards have greyish-white fur with a black rosette pattern. Due to this, snow leopards blend in well in snowy environments. Snow leopards are similar in size to regular leopards, meaning they are typically smaller than lions, tigers, and jaguars.

Snow Leopard Running in Snow

Snow leopards’ coloring helps them blend in with snow and rocky mountains.

©Abeselom Zerit/

Hunting and Social Behavior

Snow leopards mainly hunt mammals and are capable of killing prey up to three times their weight. Himalayan blue sheep are a favorite meal of snow leopards. They also kill and eat ibex, marmots, pikas, deer, and other small mammals.

Snow leopards are typically solitary animals. They hunt by stalking their prey and using their large paws to grip the earth and chase down a potential meal. Snow leopards typically mate between January and mid-March. The males and females then go their separate ways. However, snow leopard cubs do stay with their mother for around the first two years of their lives.


Snow leopards are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. A number of threats face snow leopards, including overhunting of prey species, habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, poaching, and climate change. The exact number of snow leopards in the world is unknown, though there could be as few as 4,000 left in the wild.

How Far Can Snow Leopards Jump?

Snow leopards are incredibly agile. Their long, thick tails help them balance on rock and their short forelimbs and long hind limbs allow them to jump as far as 50 feet in length, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. Snow leopard’s furry paws also add protection against sharp rocks.

A snow leopard’s incredible jumping abilities are a valuable skill when hunting. Snow leopards hide among the rocky terrain, stalking their prey until they can leap forward in ambush.

How High Can Snow Leopards Jump?

Snow leopards aren’t just capable of jumping far, they can also leap high into the air. In fact, snow leopards can jump as high as 30 feet (9 meters). That’s more than six times a snow leopard’s body length.

A snow leopard’s powerful hind legs help them achieve this feat. This comes in handy when these mountain cats are scaling steep slopes and rocky cliffs.

Comparisons to Other Big Cats

Snow leopards have incredible jumping abilities, but just how do they compare to big cats like lions, tigers, and leopards?

Lion jump absurdly high

Though lions are large and powerful big cats, they can’t jump as far or high as snow leopards.

©Gunther Allen/


Lions might be the king of the jungle, but their jumping abilities don’t compare to that of snow leopards. These big cats can leap as far as 40 feet and as high as 18 feet into the air. Lions are also better adapted for running longer distances.


Though snow leopards are more closely related to tigers than leopards, their jumping abilities far surpass tigers. These big cats can only jump as far as 20 feet vertically and around 10 feet high. However, their running speed is quite impressive and is second only to cheetahs in the big cat world.


Snow leopards are larger, stockier, and more powerful than “regular” leopards. However, a regular leopard’s jumping abilities are similar to that of a tiger, reaching maximum heights of 10 feet and maximum lengths of 20 feet, according to the San Diego Zoo.


Cheetahs get their claim to fame by being the fastest land animals in the world, but are their jumping abilities equally as impressive? While they can reach heights of 7-15 feet and lengths of 35 feet when jumping, according to African Safaris, their skills aren’t quite at the level of snow leopards.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Chris Desborough/

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About the Author

Erica is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on history, food, and travel. Erica has over 3 years of experience as a content writer and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which she earned in 2018. A resident of Kansas City, Erica enjoys exploring her home town and traveling around the world to learn about different cultures and try new food.

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