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Sand Cat

Sand Cat
Scientific Classification
Binomial name
Felis margarita

The Sand Cat (Felis margarita) is a small cat (length 50 cm, plus 30 cm tail) distributed over African and Asian deserts. The name "desert cat" is reserved for a subspecies of the true Wild Cat, but it would go better with this species. It lives in those arid areas, that are even too hot and dry for the Desert Cat: the Sahara, the Arabian Desert, and the deserts of Iran and Pakistan.

The head is conspicuously broad, the ears are large and pointed. The colour of the fur is a sandy yellow, with pallid bars, which are sometimes hardly visible. The tip of the tail is black. The paws are covered with long hairs in order to protect the skin against the hot sand.

There are four subspecies:

Felis m. thinobia is sometimes regarded as a separate species; Felis m. scheffeli is listed by CITES as endangered. Generally the bars are more visible in the African subspecies.

In the daytime the Sand Cat hides under rocks. At night it hunts for rodents, lizards and insects.