The Otter and the Snow Leopard

 

pallas cat

Painting by David Miller.

People in Ladakh, Northern India, and “next door” in the Baltistan region of Northern Pakistan, consider the snow leopard to be a part-land, part-water animal. They believe that there is only a female snow leopard. The female comes into heat on a full moon night, goes to the edge of a water body, a lake or a river, and calls to the male otter. The otter comes out of the water and mates with the female snow leopard. After copulation, the female returns to the mountains and the otter goes back into the water. At the time of birth the pregnant snow leopard comes again to the edge of the water and gives birth. A newborn male cub goes in the water and becomes an otter while the female cub goes in the mountain with the mother.