The sand cat (Felis margarita) is a small wild cat in the Felinae subfamily. It is distributed over African and Asian deserts. Sometimes people call it "desert cat," but that is really the name of a different animal. The sand cat does live in deserts, even the Sahara and Arabian Desert. It is also found in Iran and Pakistan. In zoos, this cat can live for 13 years.
The sand cat is about 50 cm long, not including the tail. The tail is 30 cm long and has rings on it. It weighs about 2.7 kg (6 lbs). It has sand-colored fur and a wide head with ears that can point up, out or down. There is fur on its paws so that the hot sand does not hurt it.
This cat finds shade or digs a burrow during the day and hides from the sunlight underground. It only lives in places where the sand or dirt is loose enough for them to dig. The sand cat looks for food at night. It eats rodents, lizards and insects. It can even hunt and kill snakes. It does not drink water, taking all its water from eating prey. It does not need to go near watering holes, so it can avoid bigger predators that might hurt it. Wolves, snakes, large birds and humans can hurt this cat.
The sand cat does not fight with other sand cats over territory. Sometimes sand cats will take turns in the same burrow, but they will not share it at the same time. The sand cat lives alone except when looking for mates and when mothers are raising cubs.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Felis margarita.|