Difference Between Snow Leopard and Lion

Snow Leopard vs Lion

The discussions about carnivores, especially about the top predators of an ecosystem are a never-ending interest. That is mainly because their presence depicts the ecological richness in terms of niches and components of an ecosystem is complete. Lion and snow leopard are two top predators of their respective ecosystems, and it would be interesting to find out some information about them as in this article. In addition, the presented comparison between the two subjects would make some important sense about them.

Snow Leopard

Snow leopard is an interesting carnivorous mammal found in the mountain ranges of Southern and Central Asia. They are scientifically known as either Panthera unica or Unica unica. Usually, they prefer to live in high mountainous regions with altitudes over 3,000 metres or sometimes at 5,500 metres. They are medium size cats with bodyweights range from 25 to 55 kilograms. Their body lengths vary from 75 to 135 centimetres, and the female snow leopards are smaller than their males. Since they live in high altitudes, they should have good adaptations for harsh, cold climatic conditions. Thick fur, stocky body, and small ears are some of the externally visible adaptations for the extreme colds in their habitats. Their coat is smoky grey to yellowish with dark grey to black spots and rosettes. However, the colour of the underparts is paler than the dorsal area. Additionally, their rosettes are open; small spots are noticeable around the head region and large spots are present on the tail and legs. They have wide paws prevent slipping when they walk over snow. Snow leopards are solitary animals and only gather with others during mating season in late winter of each year. Their gestation lasts for three months or a little more than that. This important group of active carnivores in the Asian mountains are declared as an endangered species by the IUCN.


Lion, Panthera leo, is one of the iconic big cats that live mainly in Africa and some parts of Asia. Lion is the second largest among all the Felids; males exceed 250 kilograms in bodyweight. In addition, lion is the tallest of all the cats. Although they have stable populations in the wild, the trends have been identified as vulnerable to be a threatened species according to the IUCN red list. They are considered the kings of the jungle, as there would be no other animal to challenge a lion. In other words, they are apex or top predators of the ecosystem. Lions live in savannah grasslands as family units or groups known as prides including males. Males are responsible for maintaining the territories while females go for hunting. They usually hunt large ungulates and the whole family feed on a particular prey at a time. The fur coat of the lion is one of a kind as it does not have rosettes but usually uniformly coloured in buff to yellowish or dark ochraceous brown. The male lions have their bushy mane, which is not present in females. These sexually dimorphic big cats can live about 10 – 14 years in wild and more in captivity.


What is the difference between  Snow Leopard and Lion?

• Lions live predominantly in Africa and some parts of Asia, whereas snow leopards range only in Asia.

• Snow leopards live in mountainous regions while lions inhabit the savannah and grasslands.

• The lion is larger than the snow leopard in body size.

• Sexual dimorphism is present in lions but, not in snow leopards

• Snow leopards have rosettes in their coat, but not the lions do.

• Male lion has a beautiful mane but, not in snow leopards.

• Snow leopards prefer to live a solitary life, whereas lions live in prides.