Canon 40D 70-200 f2.8 L lens
581 views as of 20 May 2011
Shot in Seoul, South Korea
The snow leopard (Panthera uncia3 or Uncia uncia), sometimes known as the Ounce, is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of central and southern Asia. The taxonomic position of this species has been subject to change. In the past, many taxonomists included the snow leopard in the genus Panthera, with several of the other largest felids, but later it was placed in its own genus, Uncia. However, most recent molecular studies place the species firmly within the genus Panthera, although the exact position remains unclear. Along with the Clouded Leopard, it represents an intermediate between so-called big cats and smaller species, as it cannot roar, despite possessing a cartilaginous hyoid apparatus which is thought essential in allowing the big cats to roar.
Well known for its beautiful fur, the snow leopard has a whitish-tan coat with ringed spots of dark, ashy-brown and rosettes of black . The fur turns white in the winter. Its tail is heavy with fur and the bottom of its paws are covered with fur for protection against snow and cold. The life span of a snow leopard is normally 15-18 years, but in captivity they can live up to 20 years.