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Snow Leopard Panthera uncia (Schreber, 1775)
The snow leopard has thick soft fur and a long bushy tail. The tail is used as a counterbalance when jumping, and to wrap around the body when the animal is at rest. Cream or smoky-greyish above, the lower parts of the body are white. In winter the coat often becomes paler. The pelt is marked with dark spots, rings or rosettes. The head is dotted with round black spots. As an adaptation for cold, the ears are small and very furry. They are conspicuously marked, as are the ears of most cats, with a central white spot on the dark backs.
Snow leopards are generally smaller than true leopards, and their tails are characteristically much longer. Their heads are notably more rounded than those of common leopards. Females are smaller than males.

Physically, snow leopards are completely adapted to moving in a montane environment. Their feet act like large snowshoes and their legs are designed for jumping. The hind legs are longer than the fore legs. Snow leopards have very large nasal cavities to enable them to efficiently utilise the oxygen in the thin, cold and dry air of high altitudes.

Snow leopards' eyes have round pupils unlike domestic and the other small cats. Anterior upper premolars are present.

Panthera cats have cartilaginous portions in their hyoid apparatus, a series of skeletal elements which support the base of the tongue. In the smaller cats, the hyoid is completely ossified or bony. This, and a series of thick fibrous pads on the vocal cords, enable the large cats to roar. However, they are unable to purr continuously. The hyoid of the snow leopard is only partly ossified, and the vocal folds are only slightly thickened (Why Big Cats Can Roar. Cat News 11, 1989, p. 17). Thus the snow leopard is unable to roar or to purr continuously.

Principal Dimensions
Overall Males Females
Head and body lengths (cm) - - -
Height at shoulder (cm) - - -
Tail lengths (cm) - - -
Weight (kg) - - -
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