11 cold, hard facts that show why the snow leopard is unlike any other feline.
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Compared to the rest of the cat pack, the mighty snow leopard is in a category of its own — a "cat-egory" if you will.

Beautiful. Photo by Eric Kilby/Flickr.

But how much do we really know about this icy animal? Truth is, even experts don't fully understand the complexities of the snow leopard. They're so elusive that it's guesstimated there could be anywhere between 3,920 and 7,500 left on Earth. (Not a lot either way, but more on that later.)


What people do know about the snow leopard, though, is incredibly enlightening, at times heartbreaking, and downright fascinating.

Here are 11 things you need to know about the cat they call the "ghost of the mountains":

1. Snow leopard sightings are rare — even for other snow leopards.

Hence the ghostly nickname. Snow leopards mainly roll solo — unless it's mating season or a mama is caring for her cubs. Other than that, good luck spotting these solitary animals that count dusk and dawn as their favorite times of day.

2. Rocks are their preferred mode of communication.

Just checking the inbox for messages. Image via BBC Earth Unplugged/YouTube.

When searching for a mate (or avoiding one for that matter), snow leopards are known to leave scrapes and mark their territories on rocks for other snow leopards to find and get the message.

3. Their nostrils function kind of like heaters.

Ever try breathing hot air from your nose? Well, a snow leopard's nasal cavities are short and wide to heat up freezing air before it ever reaches their lungs.

4. They essentially have pogo sticks for legs.

Ready to pounce. Image via Skeeze/Pixabay.

Snow leopards can jump as far as 50 feet in one go. For reference, a basketball hoop is 10 feet off the ground. So yeah, that's, umm, pretty incredible.

5. This ferocious-looking feline isn't actually so scary.

Don't worry, that's just a yawn. Image via Public Domain Pictures.

As intimidating as snow leopards might seem, there's never been a verified attack on a human. In fact, when disturbed, they're more likely to scurry away.

6. Snow leopards have built-in invisibility powers.

Can you spot the snow leopard? Image via BBC Earth/YouTube.

They can't vanish into thin air, but they can disappear in plain sight. Because of their light-colored fur and dark spots, snow leopards have an easy time camouflaging in their surroundings.

7. Their tails can do more than just wag.

Look at that thing! Image via Eric Kilby/Flickr.

Did you know a snow leopard's tail can be as long as its actual body? In fact, it even provides balance through uneven terrain and can act as an extra layer of heat when it's wrapped around them.

8. There are houses, mansions, and then there's a snow leopard's habitat.

2 million square kilometers. That's how vast the snow leopard's Central Asia habitat is — roughly the size of Mexico. Granted, that covers all snow leopards. But, for even just one, home can be a 1,000-square-kilometer area.

9. They're not that into snow. And they're not that leopard-like.

To be honest, snow leopards prefer rocky cliffs and ravines to snow. Plus, snow leopards are actually more similar to tigers than they are to common leopards. ("Rock tigers" does have a nice ring to it.)

10. These cats got monks watching their backs.

Image via Max Pixel.

Buddhist monks are protectors of the snow leopard. They ward off illegal poachers, a serious threat that's disrupting the future of snow leopards as we know it.

11. Snow leopards are rapidly depleting.

We need these creatures in our lives. Image via Skeeze/Pixabay.

In fact, in under two decades, their population is estimated to have declined by at least 20%. Because of illegal poachers, herders killing snow leopards to protect their flock, and even climate change, these majestic animals are now considered endangered.

Snow leopards play a pivotal role in the circle of life. And they need our help.

Snow leopards mainly eat mountain goats and sheep; without snow leopards, these herbivores will eat off the food supply reserved for other creatures and surrounding communities. Snow leopards help keep the ecosystem in balance, and everyone is able to live in harmony.

How can you say no to that? Image via Max Pixel.

But they need your support — help put a stop to their decline once and for all. Take action now with the Snow Leopard Trust or World Wildlife Fund and let's keep these friendly felines with us for generations to come.

It's time the "ghost of the mountains" was seen in all its glory.

Photo courtesy of Capital One
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Growing up in Virginia, Dominique Meeks Gombe idolized her family physician — a young Black woman who inspired Meeks Gombe to pursue her passion for chemistry.

While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.

That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.

"I'm so passionate about technology because that's where the world is going," Meeks Gombe said. "All of today's problems will be solved using technology. So it's very important for me, as a Black woman, to be at the proverbial table with my unique perspective."

Since 2019, she and her fellow Capital One associates have partnered with the Capital One Coders program and Girls For A Change to teach coding fundamentals to middle school girls.

The nonprofit's mission is aimed at empowering Black girls in Central Virginia. The organization focuses on designing, leading, funding and implementing social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.

Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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