IRBIS or snow leopard is an endangered predator of large size, belongs to the mammal class and felines. And this animal called the snow leopard from the external similarity with these representatives.
Snow leopards are very beautiful and graceful. Prefer a solitary life and rarely live in groups and choosing a remote mountain gorge as his home.
The leopards – endangered and very rare species of animals. They are listed in the Red book. Because of the large popularity among the poachers, their number considerably decreased and animals are on the verge of extinction. Around the globe there are not more than eight thousand representatives.
Hunting of snow leopards is strictly prohibited and punishable by the legislation of the Russian Federation.
Inhabited by the snow leopard
The leopards prefer mountainous terrain and snow-capped mountain ranges. They live in Central parts of Asia. Felines can be found in the Himalayas, Tibet, Pamir, Mongolia and others.
Leopards prefer mountainous terrain (six kilometers).
In the Russian expanses of snow leopards can be found in Siberia, mountain ranges of Altai, separate regions of Baikal and rocky gorges of the Caucasus mountains. Percentage of the negligible – from 2 to 3 of the total.
China has the largest number of snow leopards – up to 5 thousand individuals.
The history of the snow leopard
IRBIS is translated from Turkic as a cat that lives in the snow.
Georges Buffon (outstanding French scientist) first depicted this wild beast in 1761. The scientist thought that the Homeland of animal origin is Persia.
The remains of the animal were found in the Altai and West Mongolia. Later finds were discovered on the territory of modern Pakistan. This ancient predator that was distributed more than one million years ago.
Uncia – the genus to which it belongs snow leopards. They are the first and last representatives of this genus. It is an intermediate form between the native leopards and small felids.
The Constitution of the body and the external features of the animal IRBIS
In appearance, the snow leopard has a number of similarities with the leopard. The average weight of 40 kg, body length – from one to five feet. The tail of snow leopard is very long and fluffy. The animal is characterized by light gray color shades and spotting.
The animal has a thick plush coat, thanks to which the snow leopard is not afraid of even the most severe frosts. It is very long and soft. Because of the high value of its fur and the animal is on the verge of extinction. People hunted leopards for profit.
The Constitution of the body of the snow leopard:
- The head is small in size in proportion to body, has a circular shape.
- Eyes are very expressive, round, large size.
- The teeth are sharp and strong. Snow leopards have 30 teeth.
- The tail is long and fluffy.
- Body powerful well muscled and broad chest.
- Wool is very thick and soft.
Snow leopards can’t roar as their relatives, but only a little “purr”.
What to eat and how they hunt
The diet of snow leopards
It is a predator by nature, therefore, eats meat of other animals. Likes to hunt at night or at dusk and also at dawn.
The objects of hunting:
- Representatives of the cattle and hoofed animals. For example, sheep, cows, goats. As well as deer, ROE deer, deer, wild boars and others.
- Animals of small sizes. For example, pikas and ground squirrels.
- Birds. Example: partridges, pheasants, snow cock and others.
The leopards like to vary their diet of plant food, especially in summer. Green plants are a welcome treat for carnivores. Snow leopard can be 2 kg of meat in one sitting.
The leopards are great hunters, without competition. Unable to cope with animals that are five times larger and more massive than snow leopard. They are typically single night hunt. They love to hunt as entertainment and not just for food, so ready to hunt down a suitable victim for hours. When the snow leopard ready to attack – he makes a high jump on top of the object of hunting.
Snow leopard strangles cattle, attacking from behind and breaking their backbone to immobilize the victim. Leftover food IRBIS does not protect and does not hide as she prefers only fresh meat and gets pleasure from the process of stalking victims.
The snow leopard has its own inviolable territory, which he did not let on, regularly making the rounds of his extensive holdings.
Snow leopards bad move in deep snow, so the tread of the trail and are constantly moving them.
A real threat to snow leopards is the only person, because because of poachers a number of these animals is very small and they are on the verge of extinction. Leopards can’t attack people and are pretty friendly person. This is actively used by people who kill snow leopards for their most valuable and rarest fur.
Reproduction features of snow leopard and care of offspring
Snow leopard ready to reproduce at the age of 3-4 years and at this age it reaches sexual maturity. Mating season begins in February and ends in mid-spring. Attracts individual of the opposite sex with purring sounds. After fertilization, the male leaves his lover.
The female approaches the birth of the calves on the light very thoroughly: picky about a quiet and comfortable place, where they will produce their offspring; it deals with insulation designated for delivery, pulling his coat and sub-genres for future cubs. The gestation period of 3.5 months from the day of fertilization by a male.
A young mother herself raising her cubs, and raises them up, getting food and protecting their offspring. The educational process is fully entrusted on the shoulders of the mother, so females have a hard time. The pup is born small (height > 30 cm and weight up to 500 grams) and are defenseless, therefore to survive it’s very hard. Born blind, eyes open only a week from the day of birth.
The female feeds their young with milk only a few months. Then begins the process of learning to hunt. The female attacks the victim, and the young leopards are closely watching her movements and hang on every gesture. The little leopards are very playful and prone to fighting between each other. By the age of two young leopards become independent, so often leaves his family at this age and goes to a single way of life.
The life expectancy of the average bars range from 10 to 14 years. In captivity, leopards can live much longer – up to 21 years.
Contents in captivity
These measures are used for conservation and breeding of the animal as well as to increase their years of life. Tamed the leopards with great difficulty, because they are by nature very freedom. However, the representatives of which were born in captivity, more amenable to the training process and nourish a sincere sympathy for the man.
In zoos in the territory of the Russian Federation , there are only 27 of these animals, and zoos in the world – more than 2 thousand
Snow leopard requires a free and well-lit space, so the height of the enclosure, which contains IRBIS, may reach 6 meters. You need to create the most natural conditions to ensure a comfortable existence of these predators.
Leopards are fed once a day. The food consists of meat products and live animals of small species (rats, mice, rabbits, chickens). And enrich the diet with vitamin-mineral complex supplements.
Interesting facts: 10 interesting facts about snow leopards
- The snow leopard features a very long tail, by which they balance while jumping on the victim.
- Six meters – a giant leap can do these predatory animals, hunting for game. And this is not the limit. The maximum jump is 15 meters.
- The leopards listed in the Red book.
- Snow leopards are the only cats that can survive in such adverse climatic conditions.
- The snow leopard is a symbol of Tatarstan and Khakassia. Depicted on the coat of arms of the republics.
- Even the paws of the animal cover is thick and warm wool.
- Color favors disguise the animal among the rocky and mountainous terrain.
- Snow leopards do not show aggression towards people and not attack them.
- To see the snow leopard can only favourites, he is very secretive.
- The snow leopards tail also helps them to keep warm in severe frosts – they wind them and keep warm. The female warms the cubs also with the help of the tail.