Snow leopards have a head and body length of about 39.25 to 51.25 inches and a tail length of 31.5 to 39.25 inches. They weight between 55 to 165 pounds with most weighing under 110 lbs. Snow leopards have gray-green eyes and long, thick fur, pale gray to olive in coloration, and patterned with large dark rosettes and spots.The coat has a woolly-like undercoat. They are slightly smaller than the common spotted leopard. The tail, nearly as long as the body, is important for maintaining balance. The large paws act as snow shoes. The strong claws and large pads separated by hairy zones enable them to walk with ease on rugged mountainous terrain without sinking into the snow.
Snow leopards are solitary cats, though not unsocial. They exhibit a distinct preference for traveling along major ridges, river bluffs or cliffs, and other well-defined landscape “edges”. These crepuscular cats like to rest in places with good vistas, such as cliff ledges. These agile cats have been observed to jump 45 feet in a single leap.
Snow leopards are highly endangered in the wild. They are being bred in captivity under the guidance of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) developed by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA).