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Leopard vs. Snow Leopard: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 15, 2024
Leopards are large, spotted cats found in various habitats in Africa and parts of Asia, known for their adaptability, while snow leopards are a specialized species adapted to the cold, mountainous regions of Central and South Asia.

Key Differences

Leopards, belonging to the species Panthera pardus, are versatile predators adaptable to various environments, from savannas to forests. Snow leopards, Panthera uncia, are specifically adapted to the cold, rugged mountainous regions of Central and South Asia.
Leopards are known for their distinctive rosette spots on a yellowish-brown coat, aiding in camouflage. Snow leopards have a thick, smoky-gray coat with black spots and rosettes, providing camouflage in snowy and rocky terrain.
The leopard is an opportunistic hunter, preying on a diverse range of animals. The snow leopard's diet is more specialized, primarily consisting of ibex, blue sheep, and other mountain ungulates.
In terms of behavior, leopards are solitary and territorial animals, with a wider range across Africa and parts of Asia. Snow leopards are also solitary but are found in more isolated and less accessible high-altitude areas.
Leopards have a broader habitat range and are more adaptable to human-impacted environments. In contrast, snow leopards are more restricted to specific mountain ranges and are highly vulnerable to habitat loss and climate change.

Comparison Chart


Panthera pardus
Panthera uncia


Various, from savanna to forest
Cold, mountainous regions

Coat Appearance

Yellowish-brown with rosette spots
Smoky-gray with black spots and rosettes


Diverse range of prey
Specialized, mainly mountain ungulates

Geographic Range

Wider range in Africa and Asia
Restricted to Central and South Asia

Leopard and Snow Leopard Definitions


A large, spotted wild cat native to Africa and parts of Asia.
The leopard stealthily stalked its prey in the savanna.

Snow Leopard

A large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia.
The snow leopard is perfectly adapted to the harsh conditions of the Himalayas.


An adaptable predator in various habitats.
Leopards are found in both dense forests and arid regions.

Snow Leopard

Specialized in living in high-altitude environments.
Snow leopards are found at elevations above 3,000 meters.


Known for its distinctive rosette-patterned coat.
The leopard's coat provides excellent camouflage in the bush.

Snow Leopard

Primarily feeds on mountain ungulates like ibex.
The snow leopard's diet is crucially dependent on the availability of blue sheep.


Solitary and territorial in nature.
Each leopard has its own territory that it fiercely defends.

Snow Leopard

Has a thick, smoky-gray coat with black spots.
The snow leopard's coat blends seamlessly with the rocky terrain.


Capable of climbing trees and swimming.
The leopard escaped danger by swiftly climbing a tree.

Snow Leopard

Listed as vulnerable due to habitat loss and poaching.
Conservation efforts are critical for the snow leopard's survival.


A large wild cat (Panthera pardus) of Africa and southern Asia, having either tawny fur with dark rosettelike markings or black fur.

Snow Leopard

Alternative form of snow leopard


Any of several similar felines, such as the cheetah or the snow leopard.


(Heraldry) A lion in side view, having one forepaw raised and the head facing the observer.


Panthera pardus, a large wild cat with a spotted coat native to Africa and Asia, especially the male of the species (in contrast to leopardess).


(inexact) A similar-looking, large wild cat named after the leopard.


The clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), a large wild cat native to Asia.


The snow leopard (Panthera uncia), a large wild cat native to Asia.


(heraldry) A lion passant guardant.


Any of various nymphalid butterflies of the genus Phalanta, having black markings on an orange base.


A large, savage, carnivorous mammal (Felis leopardus). It is of a yellow or fawn color, with rings or roselike clusters of black spots along the back and sides. It is found in Southern Asia and Africa. By some the panther (Felis pardus) is regarded as a variety of leopard.


The pelt of a leopard


Large feline of African and Asian forests usually having a tawny coat with black spots


What is a snow leopard?

A big cat adapted to the cold, mountainous regions of Central and South Asia.

What do leopards eat?

A variety of prey, from antelopes to smaller mammals and birds.

How do leopards adapt to their environment?

They are versatile hunters, comfortable in trees and on the ground.

Are leopards solitary animals?

Yes, they are known for their solitary and territorial nature.

Where do snow leopards live?

Primarily in the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia.

How are snow leopards adapted to their environment?

They have thick fur and wide paws for insulation and traction in snow.

How big can a leopard get?

Leopards can weigh up to 90 kg (198 lbs), with males being larger.

What is a leopard?

A large, spotted cat found in Africa and parts of Asia.

Where do leopards live?

In diverse habitats, including savannas, forests, and grasslands.

Is the snow leopard endangered?

They are currently listed as vulnerable due to habitat loss and poaching.

Can snow leopards climb?

They are agile in rocky terrain but do not climb trees like leopards.

How long do leopards live?

They can live 12-17 years in the wild.

Can leopards climb trees?

Yes, they are excellent climbers and often store prey in trees.

What do snow leopards eat?

Mainly mountain ungulates like ibex and blue sheep.

Is the leopard endangered?

Leopard populations vary, but some subspecies are endangered.

How long do snow leopards live?

They typically live for 10-15 years in the wild.

Can leopards swim?

Yes, leopards are strong swimmers.

Are snow leopards solitary?

Yes, they are solitary except during mating season or when females are with cubs.

How big can a snow leopard get?

Snow leopards can weigh between 22-55 kg (48-121 lbs).

Do snow leopards swim?

They are not known to swim frequently due to their mountainous habitat.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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