Like other big cats, snow leopards are exclusively carnivores. They will hunt their prey rather actively. Generally leopards are opportunistic hunters and they will eat just about anything ranging from small rodents to a large Siberian ibex.
They likely consume Himalayan tahr, bharal, argali, birds, markhor, and domestic animals such as horses and camels.
What Do Snow Leopards Eat in the Wild?
Snow leopards have varied diet. They likely consume Himalayan tahr, bharal, argali, birds, markhor, and domestic animals such as horses and camels. But leopards are strong enough to take prey as large as a yak. Unlike other big cats, snow leopards also feed on green vegetation including twigs and grass but only sometimes. The snow leopards inhabiting Himalayas likely prey on bharals and Siberian ibex but they also supplement their diet with gorals, wild boars, red panda, pikas, marmots, langur, antelopes, pronghorns, chukar, rodents, snow cock, woolly hares, and deer.
Read More: Snow Leopard Facts for Kids
Over the past many years, snow leopards are beginning to hunt domestic animals. Studies suggest that every year a snow leopard eats 20 to 30 domestic sheep. They also feed on carrion. This indeed brings them closer to humans ever than before and so they are highly vulnerable. In the northwestern Nepal and India, around 60 to 70% of the snow leopard’s diet consists of blue sheep.
What Do Snow Leopards Eat – Video
References and Further Reading
Nyhus, P.; McCarthy, T.; Mallon, D. (2016). Snow Leopards. Biodiversity of the World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes. London, Oxford, Boston, New York, San Diego: Academic Press.
Sunquist, Mel; Sunquist, Fiona (2002). Wild cats of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 377–394. ISBN 0-226-77999-8.