The snow leopard is a cousin of the African leopard that lives far up in the mountains where few other creatures can survive. Its coat is a mixture of white and grey with large dark spots. It grows to be 39 to 51 inches long, not including the lengthy tail.
The snow leopard's body is adapted to its life in the cold mountains of central Asia. The color of the wildcat's coat lets it blend in with the mountain rocks and snow, enabling it to hide from prey such as sheep, boars and wild goats. The coat is also thick enough to insulate the creature against the frigid cold. The long tail helps the snow leopard to keep its balance as it runs and to cover exposed parts of its face as it rests, and the large paws provide both traction and protection from rocks.
A snow leopard is usually a loner and comes together with other leopards only to mate. Humans also rarely catch a glimpse of the creature, as its shy and secretive nature and preference for dawn and dusk keep it out of sight. The female gives birth in the spring to two or three cubs. Although classified as a big cat, the snow leopard cannot roar.