A well adapted feline, the Sand Cat can tolerate extreme conditions in its natural desert environment, including temperatures ranging from -5°C to 52°C.
Like many other species, they have unfortunately been put in danger.
Here is what makes this little feline so interesting.
The origins of the Sand Cat
Sand Cats are also called Sand Dune Cats. They are wild cats that can be found in the deserts of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Niger, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Yemen, Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
They are one of the rare breeds of felines that can be found primarily in the desert.
The physical characteristics of the Sand Cat
The Sand Cat appears to remain a kitten all their life, with a small, triangular head and large ears.
They measure in at 47 to 59 cm long, and weigh between 1.5 and 4 kg.
Their fur is thick and soft, which varies from yellowy brown to grey, with some darker stripes along the legs.
The Sand Cat's lifestyle
The Sand Cat's natural habitat is in arid regions or the middle of deserts, be they sandy or rocky.
Nocturnal and solitary, Sand Cats hunt during the night and go to ground during the day in subterranean refuges in order to protect themselves from the heat and predators.
Sand Cats feed on any small prey that they find: lizards, insects, rodents, and even snakes!
Given the arid conditions in which the Sand Cat lives, water can at times be scarce. As such, the cat is able to sate their thirst simply with the water already present in their food over a period of several weeks.
Due to its beautiful appearance, people began taking Sand Cats from their natural environment in a bid to make the animal their own. As such, a black market for Sand Cats was established, which contributed to a large decline in its numbers. The animal is also vulnerable to illnesses transmitted by cats and dogs, wild or domesticated.
Over the past 15 years, efforts have been taken to conserve this breed of feline, with numbers slowly returning to more acceptable levels in the last couple of years.
What do you think of the Sand Cat?