National Zoo & Aquarium

Hi! I’m Sheva the Snow Leopard

The Snow Leopard is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and Southern Asia. It has many adaptations for a cold habitat; long and thick body hair, woolly belly fur, large paws and a well-developed chest, and enlarged nasal cavity that warms the cold air as it is breathed in. The long, thick tail is almost a metre in length and is used for balance and as added insulation when wrapped around the body and face at rest. The short forelimbs and long hind limbs enable this leopard to be particularly agile in its steep and rugged habitat.

The total estimated wild population of the snow leopard is between 3,500 and 7,000 with 500–600 in zoos. The main threats facing Snow Leopards are habitat loss and hunting for their fur. The National Zoo and Aquarium supports the Snow Leopard Trust; a grassroots organisation which aims to protect this endangered cat through community-based conservation projects based on an improved scientific understanding of snow leopard behaviour, needs, habitats and threats. Find out more about snow leopards at

The National Zoo is home to 1 Snow Leopard,  Sheva .

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Snow leopard facts

DISTRIBUTION Central Asia, Russia, India and the Himalayas
WEIGHT 45–55kg (male), 35–40kg (female)
LENGTH Head to body 100–130cm
LIFE SPAN 15–21 years
GESTATION 90–100 days

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Scrivener Dam, Yarralumla, Canberra, ACT 2611

Open every day from 9:30am to 5:00pm

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