Snow leopards are sporty.
Too bad these cats don’t compete in long-jump competitions. Using their superstrong legs, they can leap up to 50 feet. They’re also into power walking—some travel distances of over 25 miles in one day in search of food.
The cats carry a blanket with them.
Temperatures in parts of Central Asia where these cats live can drop to minus 20˚F in winter. Luckily a snow leopard’s tail is like a built-in quilt. The cat can wrap its three-foot-long fluffy tail around its body for warmth.
They have powers of invisibility—kind of.
Snow leopards are masters of camouflage. Their spotted coats turn off-white in winter to match the snow. In summer the fur changes to a yellowish gray so the cats can blend in almost completely with the surrounding mountains and blooming plants.
Their dens are comfy—fur real.
Female snow leopards give birth to two or three cubs at a time in dens hidden in caves or rock crevices. To make these “nurseries” extra cozy, moms line the hideout with their fur.
Their noses are like toasters.
Oxygen is scarce in the snow leopard’s mountainous habitat. But the feline has powerful lungs and a large chest cavity to gather as much oxygen as possible when it inhales. Its wide nose also warms air before it enters the lungs.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL J. COX, GETTY IMAGES; ABESELOM ZERIT, DREAMSTIME; CHBAUM, DREAMSTIME; TOM SOUCEK, ALASKA STOCK, CORBIS; JAYSONPHOTOGRAPHY, ISTOCKPHOTO