Life Cycle

  • Mating season for wild snow leopards is between January and mid-March. During this time, a male and a female will travel together for a few days and copulate.
  • The female is typically pregnant for 93-110 days before retiring to a sheltered den site and giving birth to her cubs in June or July. The diligent mother raises her offspring alone, providing food and shelter for her cubs.
A wild cub that was discovered by Snow Leopard Trust researchers in its den in Mongolia. Photo: Jeremy Krockenberger / Snow Leopard Trust
Snow leopards grow up quickly
  • Cubs are small and helpless when they are born, and do not open their eyes until they are about 7 days old.
  • At 2 months old, cubs are ready to eat solid food.
  • At 3 months old, they begin following their mother and start to learn important behavior like hunting.
  • At 18-22 months old, cubs become independent of their mothers.
  • Based on limited data available from the wild, it appears that female snow leopards are ready to have their own cubs by age 3.
  • Male snow leopards become sexually mature by age 4.
  • In captivity, snow leopards have been known to live for as long as 22 years. Life in the wild is much harder, so the life expectancy of wild snow leopards is more likely to be 10 to 12 years.