The beautiful smokey grey snow leopard (Panthera uncia) occurs in the high altitudes of Central Asia. Known as the 'ghost of the mountains' this elusive wild cat is difficult to study in its rugged terrain, and numbers are estimated between 4000 and 6500.

Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) Unique Facts

~ Pale grey to green eyes v yellow to gold of other cats ~

~ One of the longest tails relative to body size ~

~ Occupies snowy mountainous habitat ~

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) - Panthera lineage
Snow leopard in Afghanistan
By USAID Afghanistan, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Image Source


Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) Classification

The taxonomy or scientific classification of the snow leopard species (Panthera uncia) is as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia   (animals)

Phylum: Chordata   (vertebrates)

Class: Mammalia   (mammals)

Order: Carnivora   (carnivores)

Suborder: Feliformia   (cat-like)

Family: Felidae   (cats)

Genus: Panthera   (big cats)

Species: Panthera uncia (snow leopard)


Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) Subspecies (lower classifications)

Historically two subspecies of snow leopard (previously named Uncia uncia) have been recognized, however this is yet to be confirmed with genetic analysis:

  • Uncia uncia uncia - Mongolia and Russia
  • Uncia uncia uncioides - western China and Himalayas


  1. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. <>. Panthera uncia. 7 Feb 2017.
  2. Wilson, D. E.; Mittermeier, R. A., eds. (2009). Handbook of the Mammals of the World. 1. Carnivores. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-84-96553-49-1.


Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) Conservation

The following organizations are all fighting to conserve our mysterious snow leopards, increasingly threatened due to loss of prey base, persecution and illegal trade.


Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) Facts and Information

The following links will take you to websites with well researched and authoritative information on snow leopards:

Recommended Books about all Wild Cats
Wild Cats of the World - Luke Hunter
Luke Hunter 2015
(general and academic interest)
The Wild Cat Book - Sunquist
Fiona and Mel Sunquist 2014
(general interest)
Small Wild Cats - Sanderson and Watson
J. Sanderson & P. Watson 2011
(general interest)
Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids
D.Macdonald & A.Loveridge 2010
(academic interest)
Wild Cats of the World - Sunquist
Mel and Fiona Sunquist 2002
(general and academic interest)