Elusive snow leopards can be almost impossible to spot in their snowy mountain habitat – but can you find these beautiful beasts blended perfectly into their Himalayan surroundings?
Incredible photos show a mother snow leopard and her cubs moving across the snow-tipped peaks and crags.
Known as ‘ghosts of the Himalayas’, these dexterous creatures get their name from their spotted white fur, which helps to keep them well insulated in the harsh weather.
Their fur which can grow up to 12cm long on their belly is perfect for their high-altitude mountainous terrain, which is typically at elevations of 3,000-4,500m.
Snow leopards enjoy steep habitats, such as rocky outcrops and cliffs – their short forelimbs and long hind legs allow them to make their way across rugged environments.
Can you spot the snow leopards in the pictures below?
A mother snow leopard and are cubs scale the rocky cliffs of the Himalayas. Can you spot the elusive creature in this picture?
The creatures get their name from their spotted white-greyish fur which helps to keep them well insulated in cold weather, however, it does make them harder to spot
Although some would find their high-altitude mountainous terrain terrifying at a staggering elevation of 3,000-4,500m, these snow leopards can’t get enough
The global population of snow leopard is estimated to be between 3,500 and 7,000, according to the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust. The big cats are hiding somewhere in this picture
The Himalayas offers lofty snow-clad mountains, deep gorges, thickly forested valleys and large lakes, making it the purr-fect place to be for these furry animals
In addition to being very shy, the coloring of their coats make them difficult to see against the snowy, rocky environment they live in. Can you see them in this image?
Snow leopards are solitary creatures, and since it is so rare to see two snow leopards together there actually is no term for a group of snow leopards. Can you detect the rare sight of all three leopards?
Snow leopards also have very long, thick tails that they use for balancing on rocks and wrapping around their bodies for protection from the cold, according to WWF
Snow leopards enjoy steep habitats, such as rocky outcrops and cliffs as their short forelimbs and long hind legs allow them to make their way across rugged environment
There are an estimated 4,080-6,590 snow leopards in the wild, but it is difficult for scientists to know for sure, and they are known to be rare and endangered creatures
Snow leopards have litters of one to five cubs, but litters are most commonly two to three. Can you see the mother and her cubs in this picture?
Snow leopards are known as the ‘ghost of the mountains’ because of their elusive nature, but can you spot this solitary leopard?
The stunning snowy creatures can be found across a swathe of northern and central Asia’s high mountains, including the Himalayan region.
Currently, they inhabit 12 countries around the world – including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Russia, and Mongolia.
However, these creatures won’t stay in one place for long as they can impressively travel over 25 miles in a single night – almost the distance of a marathon.
Snow leopards are currently under threat from habitat loss and degradation as a result of climate change and human encroachment, retaliatory killings resulting from human-wildlife conflict, reduced prey, and poaching.
Because of their long fur and less distinctive markings that seem to change shape with body movement, identifying individual snow leopards can be difficult compared to other big cats like tigers, leopards and jaguars, which have more distinctive markings.
They are known as the ‘ghost of the mountains’ because of their elusive nature, they are thought to be shy and solitary creatures – since it is so rare to see two snow leopards together, there is no term for a group of snow leopards.
However, when a snow leopard has a litter of cubs, which can vary from one to five, they are dependent on their mothers for at least a year after birth before they take off on their own.
While snow leopards are nearly impossible to spot for an untrained eye, once you do spot them, you can see how good their camouflage truly is.
Revealed: Did you find the creatures circled below?
There are three snow leopards pictured scaling the rocky mountains – it is rare to spot even one of these beautiful creatures
Because of their long fur and less distinctive markings that seem to change shape with body movement, identifying individual snow leopards can be difficult, so here they are circled to spot with ease
However, these creatures won’t stay in one place for long as they can impressively travel over 25 miles in a single night – spot the leopard trio here before they are gone
Snow leopards scale the great, steep slopes of mountains in Central Asia with ease, blending into the landscape. Here, one of the big cats can be seen camouflaged against their surroundings
Snow leopard cubs are small and helpless at birth – they do not open their eyes until they are about 7 days old and will rely on their mother for a year after birth – did you see this cub following its parent in this picture?
Snow leopards face threats including habitat loss and degradation from climate change. Did you spot these two creatures in the picture above?
Step by step, the cubs learn all the skills it takes to live on their own in their harsh, mountainous home range
Snow leopards are found in 12 countries – including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Russia and Mongolia. There are an incredible three snow leopards in this picture
Unlike other big cats, now leopards can mew, growl, yowl and prusten. Prusten, also referred to as chuffing, is a non-threatening vocalization made by blowing through their nose while their mouth is closed
Snow leopards play a key role as both top predator and as an indicator of the health of their high-altitude habitat. If snow leopards thrive, so will countless other species
Their large paws act like snowshoes, helping them to walk on top of snow instead of sinking in – thankfully this leopard is well-equipped for walking up the snowy mountain
They are known as the ‘ghost of the mountains’ because of their elusive nature, they are thought to be shy and solitary creatures – did you spot this lonely leopard hidden in the snow?