Physiological Aspects Of Snow Essay, Research Paper
Descriptive and Behavioral Aspects of Snow Leopards
The Snow Leopard is an endangered species, and lives among many other species in Asia. These leopards are medium sized cats and usually, males weight more than females. The average male weighs anywhere from 100-120 lbs.; whereas, the average female weighs 75-90 lbs. They do not belong to the same genus as larger cats because they lack the ability to roar. Leopards do not have the fibro-elastic tissues in the throat that allow other cats to make the low growl. It belongs to the Felidae Family, and its scientific name is Uncia uncia.
The thick fur coat is grayish-white with traces of yellow in it, and the open-rosette (black circles that resemble roses) spots are dark gray to black colored. This lush fur allows the cat to appear larger than it actually is. The dense light colored coat protects the animal from the extreme conditions of the winter and the mild conditions of the summer. The fur around the paw acts as snowshoes during the winter, and it protects the leopard s feet against hot sharp rocks in the summer. Snow leopards molt twice a year, but the summer coat differs little from the winter coat by density and length. The mountainous environment provides an ample amount of camouflage for this particular species.
There are other adaptations that the snow leopard has. The most unique characteristic of the Snow Leopard is the long tail, which is used for balance up in the high altitudes. It can be 30-40 in. long, or in some cases, as long as the leopard s body. It can also be used to as a scarf. The cat can wrap the tail around itself when it is sitting to add extra warmth. Other adaptations that the Snow Leopard utilizes for the cold are the enlarged nasal cavities, and long fur with wooly undergrowth. For the mountainous environment, the Snow Leopards have developed the better chest muscles than the average cat, long hind limbs, and a long tail for balance. Overall these features help the animal to survive.
Snow Leopards usually keep to themselves, and they are the most active in the mornings and evenings. They are considered nocturnal. With all their strength and might, these cats are capable of attacking other animals up to three times their size. Snow leopards do not hunt in packs and they prey on wild sheep, wild goats, marmots, tahr, hares, and even birds and mice. In milder, lower altitude weather the snow leopard hunts deer, gazelles and wild boars. It stalks its prey from 20 50ft away, then pounces on it and does not let it go.
Communication is the key to survival, and Snow Leopards converse much like the way dogs and cats do. The use their hind leg to scrape loose dirt, and they also use their bodily fluids. Instead spraying fire hydrants, snow leopards spray rocks and boulders, and the emission comes for a gland near the tail. Snow Leopards are territorial, and they also use their odor to warn other leopards about their boundaries. Different smells are interpreted as different messages. There are usually one or more females in each male Snow Leopard s territory, and occasionally more than one male in his territory. The scent of other males helps female leopards find other male leopards during the breeding season.
A period when the Snow Leopards are not solitary is in mating season. It usually occurs from late winter to late spring, and the female leopard is able to carry 1-4 cubs. They are born approximately 90-100 days after fertilization. When the young are conceived they are able to open their eyes 7-9 days, and they drink from the mother until 2 months. When the third month roles around, the cubs go on the hunt with their mother; they remain with the mother until their first winter season. The father does not play a role in bringing up the child.