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Snow Leopard vs Himalayan Wolf Who Will Win In A Fight?

snow leopard vs Himalayan wolf

Animals have evolved to live in the most unforgiving habitats, like high up in the Himalayan mountains. They are home to the snow leopard and Himalayan wolf, both of which are predators. There can be only one apex predator in this region, so we have a snow leopard vs Himalayan wolf who will win in a fight?

Snow Leopard vs Himalayan Wolf: Fact Sheet

Snow LeopardHimalayan Wolf
Sizeweight 45 – 55 kg
height 61 cm
length 1.78 – 2.29 m
weight 35 kg
height 76 cm
length 1.1 m
Speed35 – 40 mph40 mph
Attackbite force 350 – 400 psibite force 400 psi
Lifespan10 – 12 years8 – 13 years

Snow Leopard vs Himalayan Wolf: Size

snow leopard vs Himalayan wolf

Snow leopards are the smallest subspecies of leopards. Their body is stocky and covered in long hairs 5 – 12 cm (2 – 4.7 in) long to keep them insulated from the cold. An adult male can weigh between 45 – 55 kg (99 – 121 lbs) and have a shoulder height of 61 cm (24 in). They have a body length of 99 – 130 cm (39 – 51 in), with their tail measuring 79 – 99 cm (31 – 39 in).

snow leopard vs Himalayan wolf
Abhishek.ghosh1984, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Himalayan wolf has a slim build and thick fur. They can survive at a higher altitude than any other wolf. They weigh, on average, 35 kg (77 lbs), stand 76 cm (30 in) at the shoulder and have a total length of 110 cm (43.3 in).

Snow Leopard vs Himalayan Wolf: Movement Speed

snow leopard vs Himalayan wolf

The snow leopard is a very agile cat with powerful legs that enable them to leap 15 m (50 ft) in one jump. They use their long tail for balance when chasing prey as one false move. They could quickly tumble down the cliff edge. They have a top speed of 35 – 40 mph (56 – 64 kph). They only run at this speed for short bursts as they can not maintain it for long on the side of a rocky mountain.

Wolves have a top speed of 40 mph (64 kph). They can only run at this top speed for a few minutes. When chasing prey, they keep at a steady pace of 25 mph (40 kph).

Snow Leopard vs Himalayan Wolf: Strengths

snow leopard vs Himalayan wolf

A snow leopard’s bite force has never been measured, but by looking at the bite forces of the other big cats, their bite force is likely around 350 – 400 psi. Their teeth are thinner than the other big cats and are 3 cm (1.2 in) long.

The snow leopard’s furry paws insulate them from the cold but also help cushion its steps when stalking its prey in the snow. They creep up on an unsuspecting animal, blending into the surroundings using their fur coat as it’s the perfect camouflage.

When they are within striking distance, they use a short burst of speed to pounce on their prey. Using their sharp claws, they grip hold of their target and bite the animal’s neck to kill it.

snow leopard vs Himalayan wolf
Mrinmoy7, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wolves have a bite force of 400 psi. They have longer canines than the snow leopard at 6.3 cm (2.5 in) long. Their teeth are designed to crush bone to get at the marrow inside.

Their claws are 2 – 3 cm (0.8 – 1.2 in) long, but unlike the snow leopard, they don’t use them when hunting. Wolves rarely hunt alone as they live in packs containing 2 – 15 wolves. However, a lone wolf can still hold their own during a fight and can still hunt animals twice their size.

Snow Leopard vs Himalayan Wolf: Differences

snow leopard vs Himalayan wolf
Jeet Dhokiya, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The most significant difference between the two animals is the snow leopard’s size and more robust build than the Himalayan wolf. Another noticeable difference is that the snow leopard is a cat and a member of the Felidae family. The Himalayan wolf is a dog from the Canidae family.

Even though both animals live in mountainous regions, they live in different habitats. Snow leopards live high in the mountains above the tree line, which is rocky and covered in snow. They can live at an elevation of 5,486 m (18,000 ft).

The Himalayan wolf does not live at the same height as the snow leopard but has been seen living at 3,500 m (11,500 ft) up. Their habitat is alpine tundra areas that are exceptionally windy, and only grass and small shrubs can grow.

Snow Leopard vs Himalayan Wolf Who Will Win In A Fight?

snow leopard vs Himalayan wolf

The outcome of this fight solely depends on what environment the fight happens in. If the battle goes down in the snow leopard’s territory, it will have the advantage over the wolf.

Its powerful legs are well adapted to leaping around the terrain, and with its fur coat, it will be hard for the wolf to spot it. With its more muscular frame, it can easily sneak up and ambush the wolf.

The tables will be turned in the Himalayan wolf’s favour if the fight happens in his habitat. Here the snow leopard’s fur coat would be a curse rather than an advantage as it will stick out against the backdrop alerting the wolf to its presence.

The Himalayan wolf still has the disadvantage of being the smaller and weaker animal, so the snow leopard can still win if it gets close enough. The wolf’s best chance of survival is to run as it is built to run longer distances than the leopard and can easily outlast the leopard in a race.

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