Big cats are worthy adversaries. Not only for their prey, but for humans too. These large creatures know how to sneak up on unsuspecting victims and pounce when they’re close enough. One of the biggest advantage big cats have over their prey is their camouflage. They blend into the background like they are part of it. Not even famed body painter Johannes Stoetter can mimic natures ability to match its surroundings.
During one 17-day trip to the Indian Himalayas, photographer Inger Vandyke, along with several other professional photographers, hiked the rugged terrain, dealt with the frigid temperatures, and climbed dangerous mountain scenery. And she did it all with just one goal in mind – capture the ever elusive snow leopard on camera.
She and her comrades succeeded. But when you look at their images, you might wonder where these big cats are. But we promise, in every photo below, you can spot the big cat. But only if you have the eyes of a hunter. Why? Because these felines are camouflaged so well they are practically invisible to the naked eye. Check out the startling images below!
Finding a snow leopard is no easy task. Because it is on the list of threatened species, Vandyke and his companions had their work cut out for them. While populations of these mountain big cats is down, their immaculate camouflage makes them even harder to find in the wild.
Their tan and grayish patterns blend in perfectly with the grayish broken patterns of the Himalayan slopes. When the camouflage works, these cats can get so close to their prey, the targets don’t stand a chance.
Although these cats are rare and almost impossible to see, Vandyke caught several images of these big animals and deadly predators. But as you scroll through the images, you might be wondering where are the cats?
Some of the images from the photographer are closer. This makes the elusive predator much easier to spot.
Vandyke is an Australia photographer who joined the group to brave sub-zero temperatures to follow the big cats in their natural habitat. Vandyke joined British expert Mark Beaman and a team of local guides to photograph and find rare animals hiding up in the mountains.
Vandyke said: “Mark and I were out in the field for the duration of 17 days without a shower and in the same clothes that we started in. On one watch for leopards, one of our Ladakhi friends bought us a liter bottle of water to drink at 1pm. By 2:30 p.m., in the broad sunlight, that water had completely frozen over.
“Snow leopards camouflage themselves so well in their landscape that they can turn their back on you and literally disappear into their landscape. When I look back at my photographs I often wonder how many we might have walked past in the field and simply didn’t see them.”
Vandyke admitted that without the local guides, they never would have spotted the camouflaged killers. She admitted that if you lost sight of them for a split second, they’d disappear from view and blend into the backdrop.
Vandyke said: “The Ladakhis are incredible in this way. Some spotted snow leopards, then tried to point them out to us and it took us several minutes to train our vision to see them.”
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