CHIMPANZEES COMING THIS MAY

Sand cat with cactus
Deserts

Sand Cat

Felis margarita

About

Sand cats are small wild cats that are hard to find in their habitats across the Sahara Desert. Rare, nocturnal and elusive, they keep to themselves and are active mostly at night, using burrows in sand dunes or in the shade of shrubs for sleeping or resting in the heat of the day. They are adapted for life in the desert: they have wiry, dense fur on their feet for walking on sand and digging burrows, large ears for hearing prey at night, and the ability to roam several miles hunting for small animals. They get all the water they need from their prey.

Baby sand cats are called kittens, just like housecats. Females give birth to about 4 kittens after 2 months, usually in a burrow or among rocks as shelter. Kittens nurse from their mom for about 4 months as they learn to hunt on their own.

Size
Up to 22 inches long and 7 pounds in weight
Live in
Sahara Desert
Food
Small animals
IUCN Red List Status
Least Concern
Sand cat close-up

Conservation

Little is known about sand cats in the wild, including how many there are across their range. Although it is thought that their populations are low, they are not thought to be at risk of extinction. But habitat loss and degradation as well as the pet trade may be causing their populations to shrink. Sand cats have some protection from hunting and live in protected habitats. You can help by adopting only domestic cats, not wild cats, as pets. Keep cats and other pets indoors or leased to protect local wildlife.

WHERE ARE THEY AT THE ZOO?