A SNOW leopard is so camouflaged while watching its prey it is almost impossible to see.
But a closer inspection reveals how perfectly the big cat blended into the rocky terrain while eagerly waiting to pounce.
Snow leopards are known for blending into the snowy conditions they live in and wildlife photographer Shivang Mehta managed to capture how well they hide.
The 35-year-old caught the moment the magnificent predator was watching the blue sheep, also known as bharal, in Spiti Valley in India.
He said the cunning animal was unable to attack as they were too close to the edge of a cliff in the cold desert mountain valley, high in the Himalayas.
Shivang, from Delhi, India, said: “It’s very hard to see the snow leopard in the absence of snow as they look like rock. The camouflage is amazing.
“At times, even when I was photographing this snow leopard, I lost track of where it was when it didn’t move.”
The incredible images show the animals living up to their nickname of ‘ghost cats’ or ‘ghosts of the mountains’.
Their grey fur patterned with darker rosettes help them camouflage against rocky slopes.
Snow leopards live in some of the harshest conditions on Earth and are found in 12 countries – including China, Nepal, India, Afghanistan and Russia.
But their population is falling and the WWF predicts there are only 6,000 wild snow leopards left in the world, making them a rare sighting.
Climate change, shifts in habitat and retaliatory killings by local farmers mean numbers are dwindling.
They are now classed as “vulnerable” meaning they face “a high risk of extinction in the wild”.
View more information: https://www.the-sun.com/news/1258518/snow-leopard-camouflaged-stalks-prey-india/