So, I moved to Washington State this summer, and up until then, I had lived in sunny California my entire life. I had experienced snow 4 times, 2 of which I barely remember because I was 4 years old. Winter was barely a season to me; it was not unusual for Christmas to be 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now, as I type this, there are 3 inches of snow outside my house, and it’s still falling. And I am amazed.
Like, it makes no sense why humans should like snow. Historically, it has meant nothing but death for us. Leaving aside, you know, freezing to death, crops don’t grow in snow, for most of human history, snow shut down communication and transportation, and in a blizzard, everything is cold and miserable. And despite all of that, in the audacity of this thing we call life we humans find snow… beautiful. We put it on cards that we send to each other over the holidays. We sing songs about it. In places without snow, we literally have machines freeze mist for us so we can pretend that we have a white Christmas (this is a thing, trust me on it). Wow.
I know am not the only person completely dazzled by what literally looks like a bag of sugar fell over the entire world (how is that NOT magical?). And that makes me happy. Even in a season that has NO upsides for us whatsoever, we as a species still find beauty in frozen water crystals falling from the sky. That is inspiring.
Anyway! That is my perspective on snow as a Californian really experiencing living in a place with frozen precipitation (or any precipitation) for the first time. But y’all didn’t come by to hear me freak out over ice. Instead, let’s talk about some big cats named after ice! Without further adieu, trivia about snow leopards!
The snow leopard is native to Central and South Asia (China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, and Mongolia), where it inhabits alpine/sub alpine zones. The cat enjoys cold, dry areas, and lives alone. In fact, snow leopards are so solitary that there is no word for more than one. It’s that rare to see multiple specimens at a time! Unfortunately, introversion isn’t the only reason precious few set sight on a snow leopard – this lovely animal is endangered. Scientists estimate that there are only approximately 4,000 left in the wild, only a little over half of which are reproducing.
Snow leopards are powerful creatures, killing prey up to three times their weight. Their favorite meals are ibex and wild sheep, though they also eat smaller animals like hares and even plants from time to time.
Snow leopards can’t roar. They aren’t actually leopards, either; studies indicate they are more closely related to the tiger.
The snow leopard is commonly called the snow leopard because, well, it likes the cold, and cold areas tend to have snow. Because it frequents colder climates, this cat has many adaptations to survive frigid temperatures, one of which is storing fat in its exceptionally long tail. Why is this important? I’ll tell you why.
It’s because they use their tail as a blanket when they sleep.
They are adorable. What else do you need to know? ;p
pic 1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_leopard