Drone footage gives us a wonderful and unique perspective on how wild animals move around their habitats. In this very rare drone footage of a snow leopard shot in Kibber, Himachal Pradesh in the Himalayan mountain range in 2020, we see a magnificent leopard walk across the snow. Snow leopards are solitary animals who keep themselves to themselves – sightings are extremely rare. Yet in this clip, we even get to see this amazing animal rest for a while on a frozen ridge before resuming their journey. The leopard walks slowly and purposefully across the icy landscape and is very well hidden against the rocky outcrops. The movement is remarkably similar to a domestic cat wandering across their back garden!
Majestic Snow Leopards
A member of the Panthera genus, the snow leopard is found in concentrated areas of Asia and Eurasia. It is actually more closely related to the tiger than to the leopard and is the national animal of Pakistan.
Snow leopards like to live in the cold habitat of the Himalayas and is adapted to thrive in this environment. It has a thick, warm coat to keep out the freezing temperatures. Their small ears have a small surface area and allow their body to retain heat.
As we see from this video, snow leopards have long and strong hind legs and that allows them to leap between the rocky outcrops. You may have also noticed the very long tail – this is essential for balance when moving around this habitat but it also serves as a fat storage area and can be draped across the face to keep the nose warm when the leopard is sleeping. The coat is gray but may also be white or cream and has spots or rosettes – this affords excellent camouflage.
Hunting in the Snow
Snow leopards hunt their prey either by ambushing it or by chasing it. Then, in common with other leopards, it drags the prey to a quiet area to eat it. They can use a wide variety of animal protein and hunt lots of different animals. Top of the list would be blue sheep but it will also hunt ibex, markhor, wild deer, wild donkeys and many other mammals. However, they will also eat smaller prey and that includes voles, birds and mice and they have ben seen eating plants. Where they live near human settlements, there are reports that they have taken livestock.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Warren Metcalf/Shutterstock.com
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