Endangered Animals Essay

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Snow leopard Known throughout the world for its beautiful fur and elusive behavior, the endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is found in the rugged mountains of Central Asia. Snow leopards are perfectly adapted to the cold, barren landscape of their high-altitude home, but human threats have created an uncertain future for the cats. Despite a range of over 2 million km2, there are only between 4,000 and 6,500 snow leopards left in the wild. Physical features An adult snow leopard weighs between 35 and 55 kg (77-121 lbs), and stands approximately 60 cm (24 in) tall at the shoulder. They measure 0.9 to 1.15 m (3 to 4.75 ft) from their head to rump, and have a tail up to 1 meter (40 inches) in length. Males are approximately 30% larger than females, but otherwise the sexes are difficult to tell apart. The following physical features make the snow leopard uniquely well suited for its mountain habitat: * Snow leopards have remarkable facial features to suit their cold environment. Round, short ears reduce heat loss and a wide, short nasal cavity heats the chilled outside air before it reaches the sensitive lungs. * A snow leopard’s extra large paws help keep the cat from sinking into the snow. They act just like a pair of snowshoes! * Snow leopards have short front limbs and long hind limbs that are used to launch the cat up to 30 feet (6 times its body length) in a single leap! In addition, robust chest muscles aid in steep mountain climbing, and allow the snow leopard to easily keep up with its wild prey. * A long, thick tail helps the snow leopard keep its balance and acts as a scarf to help warm the cat’s body during the night. * Year round, snow leopards are covered in soft, dense fur with hair as long as 12 cm (5 in) covering their bellies. This hair grows even thicker during the fall and winter months and helps keep the cat warm in their
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