|SAND CAT (Felis margarita)
The true desert regions of Africa and Southwest Asia are home to this little cat. But records are rare, indicating that this species is hard to find and decreasing in population abundance due to habitat destruction. Their thickly furred feet provide them with protection from the scorching sands, and leave virtually no footprints behind. They can also withstand extreme temperature shifts from hot to cold. They get all of their water requirements through their food, which range from small rodents to lizards, skinks, venomous snakes, birds and insects. They are sometimes eaten by snakes in return, as well as jackals and owls.
Sand Cats range from 5 to 10 km every night, looking for food. They are the smallest wild cat, growing to about the size of a house cat. They are found only in areas with loose soil because they burrow into it to escape the heat and cold. They have excellent hearing and smelling in order to find their prey, which is usually underneath the sand or rocks.
Mothers can have between 1 and 8 kittens. They stay with their mothers until they are 6 to 9 months old. Then they will leave to find their own way through the desert.
Because their prey requires some food and vegetation, habitat degradation may put their food sources in danger and reduce overall Sand Cat populations.