What are the eating habits of snow leopards?

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Snow leopards are carnivores, pursuing a meat-eating diet.

These cats are decently powerful, they can readily take down prey 2–4 times their weight.

Prey animals

The staple in the snow leopard’s diet is hooved animals, mainly including goats and sheep. They can also take down prey the size of horses and camels, which can be far beyond the snow leopard’s weight. Deer, wild boar and monkeys are also fair game.

The snow leopard is also content with killing small prey, such as hares, birds and marmots.

Like other carnivores, they can eat a fair amount of vegetation and grass for nutrition.

Snow leopards are exceedingly fierce predators, compared to other cats, they have quite robust forelimbs and a thick chest. The only animal in their range they cannot take down is an adult male yak, however cows are killed and eaten.

Unfortunately, snow leopards will also pursue livestock animals, and this can often lead to them being shot dead. They are apparently the least aggressive big cat towards humans, there have been no reports in recorded history of a snow leopard attacking a person.

Hunting methods

Snow leopards prefer to attack from above, they can drop down from a higher point on to the victim. Often, this can instantly break the spine of smaller prey such as a hare.

Their method of stalking and using camouflage is quite reminiscent of leopards in Africa. They’ll approach silently and out of sight if possible.

When hunting larger prey, the cat will use the force and momentum of its jump to knock the animal off balance. The snow leopard attacks the shoulders and neck region with its claws as it attempts to subdue the prey animal.

Prey this size is killed with a bite to the neck. The cat’s short muzzle can produce a powerful bite which can crush the prey’s windpipe and suffocate it, or the long canine teeth can even puncture the throat or sever blood vessels.



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