snow leopard camouflage Interesting facts

snow leopard camouflage Interesting facts

 snow leopard camouflage Interesting facts

The snow leopard's ability to blend in with its surroundings is known . It even earned the cat its most famous nickname, Ghost of the Mountain.

snow leopard camouflage
snow leopard camouflage

“Perhaps people started calling this cat ounce because the few times anyone would spot one, it might are crossing a snow field”, says Dr. Justine Shanti Alexander, Regional Ecologist with the ounce Trust. “But Rock Leopard would be a more appropriate name, because that’s where they're most reception .”

Spot the camouflaged cat! A ounce is hiding in plain sight during this picture taken in Mongolia’s Tost Mountains (click on the photo to enlarge – or scroll down for spoilers). Photo by ounce Trust / ounce Conservation Foundation

Scientifically, the cat is understood as snow leopard . Uncia – also because the occasionally used English name ounce – are derived from the Old French word once, originally used for the ecu lynx; a cat with an identical coloring but very different physiology and geographical range. The ounce was first described by German naturalist Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in his 1777 publication Die Säugethiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen. 

snow leopard camouflage
snow leopard camouflage

Much as in Western languages, the snow leopard’s various names in its native lands often ask the cat’s mountainous abode. They include “wāwrīn pṛāng” (Pashto: واورين پړانګ‎), “shan” (Ladakhi), “zigsa” (Tibetan), “irves” (Mongolian: ирвэс), “bars” or “barys” (Kazakh: барыс [ˈbɑrəs]), “ilbirs” (Kyrgyz: Илбирс), “barfānī chītā” (Hindi, Urdu: برفانی چیتا – meaning “snowy leopard”), “snezhnyy bars” (Russian: снежный барс, meaning “snowy leopard”, palang-e barfi (Dari: پلنگ برفی, meaning “snowy tiger”) and “him tendua” (Sanskrit, Hindi: हिम तेन्दुआ, meaning “snowy leopard”).

The reveal! Click on the photo to open a bigger version. Photo by ounce Trust / ounce Conservation Foundation

The ounce is shy and elusive, and it occurs at very low densities – so encounters are naturally rare. But if you're fortunate enough to be within the right place at the proper time, the large cat is comparatively easy to identify within the white snow.

On the opposite hand, against a backdrop of grey, beige and yellowish rocks, perhaps dotted with a couple of sparse, straw-colored bushes, the ounce becomes about invisible even to a trained observer. And to its prey.

A group of unsuspecting bharal (blue sheep) are certain a surprise (scroll down for spoilers). Photo by Inger Van Dyke

“Snow leopards are stalkers. Unlike wolves, who tend to chase and wear their prey down, snow leopards don’t usually hunt over long distances. Instead, they creep up on their prey and pounce from up close with their powerful burst”, Justine Shanti Alexander explains. “Their mountain habitat is difficult to navigate, and their prey – bovid and goats – is nimble and quick. therefore the element of surprise is that the cat’s best weapon.”

The camouflaged hunter is close to pounce on its prey! Photo by Inger Van Dyke

It’s the cat’s thick, grey-white fur with its dark spots and rosettes that gives the ounce with a natural camouflage and provides it its outstanding ability to blend in with its surroundings.

The majestic animal blends perfectly into the snowy background in Spiti valley, northern India, in pictures taken by Yash Adukia - making it hard to identify .

The ounce blends well into the backgroundCredit: Caters press agency 

Snow leopards are notorious for having the ability to blend into their environmentCredit: Caters press agency 

The 28-year-old had spent two years trying to capture a picture of the leopard, dubbed locally as “Ghost of the Mountains”, due to their extremely elusive nature.

“It was like hitting the jackpot,” Yash said.

“But initially i assumed our photographer guide was just bluffing because i could not see the leopard myself.

"It was only rechecking through my binoculars, I saw a sub adult ounce within the bushes.

“After the sun got set within the valley, the leopard came out from the bushes and began walking down hill towards the river, quenched her thirst and disappeared within the bushes.

“I was jumping in excitement.”

Yash trekked with a gaggle of nature enthusiasts through Spiti valley and waited in brutal -8C temperatures for 6 hours before the encounter.

He added: “We were on one cliff while the snow leopards were on the various mountain. it had been extremely difficult to identify the Himalayan grey ghosts.

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snow leopard camouflage Interesting facts
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