Sand Cat

They can survive for weeks without drinking water because the get moisture from their prey.
Sand Cat Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Felis margarita
Sand Cat Physical Characteristics
Brown, Grey, Yellow, Beige
18 years in captivity
Top speed
25 mph
3.3-7.5 lbs
Sand Cat Distribition

“Sand cats have lengthy hair on the soles of their feet to assist them run in warm, changing sand.”

Sand Cat Recap

The sand cat is a desert- residence wild cat species discovered in the deserts of North Africa, the Center East, and Central Asia. An adjustment it has for residing in this severe atmosphere is its soft woolly hair, which safeguards it from daytime warmth and nighttime cold. It additionally has lengthy tight black hairs on the soles of its feet to assist it run promptly over deep sand without sinking.

Sand Cat Truths

  • Sand cats have lengthy hair on the soles of their feet to assist them run in warm, changing sand.
  • They are intense seekers, taking advantage of tiny animals and serpents– also poisonous vipers!
  • They can opt for weeks each time without water, obtaining wetness from their victim rather.
  • These cats are not endangered and live throughout North Africa, the Center East, and Central Asia.
  • They are not hostile to people and can be maintained as pets, however call for unique treatment.

Sand Cat Scientific Name

The scientific name of the sand cat is Felis margarita. It is called after the French General Jean Auguste Margueritte, the leader of an exploration that uncovered the cat in Algeria in 1858. It comes from the Felidae family of the Mammalia class. One more typical name for this species is the dune cat.

In the past, 4 subspecies of sand cat were acknowledged. Today 2 subspecies have actually been recommended however require additional study prior to being approved by the scientific neighborhood:

  • Felis margarita margarita — a tiny species with yellow- off-white hair
  • Felis margarita thinobia — a bigger Eastern species with greyer hair

Sand Cat Appearance

Sand cats have thick fur on their paws, including between their toes, which helps to insulate them from the scorching heat and brisk cold.
Sand cats have thick hair on their paws, consisting of in between their toes, which aids to shield them from the scorching warmth and vigorous cold.

As tiny desert- occupants, the Sand cat array in weight from 3.3 to 7.5 extra pounds. Their bodies are 15- 20 inches long with a tail including an added 9- 12 inches of size. They stand 9.4- 14.2 inches at the shoulder. This is about the dimension of a residential housecat, though housecats are normally larger (9- 11 extra pounds)

The Sand cat has brief legs, a vast head, huge eyes, and a lengthy tail. It has bigger ears than various other tiny cat species. Their ear canals are two times the dimension of a residential cat, enabling regarding 5 times much more audio right into their ears. It utilizes this extraordinary hearing to find the pale damaging noises of tiny rodents underground, and to listen to mating telephone calls of various other cats throughout huge ranges. The ears are established reduced, that makes the head show up wide and level.

They have thick woolly hair that can expand 2 inches long. This serves adjustment to shield them from the extremes of cold and heat in the desert. Their hair can be light sandy brownish to grey- brownish. They are darker on their backs and paler on their stomaches and in some cases have candy striped legs. The reduced fifty percent of their face and their breast are white or light yellow. A red touch ranges from the edges of their eyes throughout their cheeks. Their ears and tails are black- tipped and they have a couple of black rings near the suggestion of their tails.

An one-of-a-kind adjustment of this species is that they have lengthy thick hair expanding in between the pads of their feet that develop a padding of hair to assist them stroll on warm, changing sand without shedding their feet or sinking. This additionally indicates their tracks are virtually undetectable, making them hard for biologists to track in the wild.

Sand Cat Habits

In the Sahara, sand cats are called “the cat that digs openings.” They enjoy to dig, both to create burrows and unearth rodents delving under the sand. They are not discovered in locations where the dirt is firmly compressed. Their claws are not completely retracting. The front claws are brief and sharp, adjusted to searching, while the back claws are tiny and blunt for excavating.

Throughout the scorching desert days, sand cats sanctuary in deep burrows underneath a dune or bush. Occasionally they will certainly utilize an additional animal’s vacant burrow, also those of various other sand cats, however will certainly not rest with each other with an additional cat. When sand cats end up being as well overheated, they in some cases lay outdoors on their backs to launch warmth from their breasts and stomaches.

Sand cats are nighttime. After dark, they rest by their den opening and utilize their detects to check the surrounding location for around 15 mins. They invest the night searching and can take a trip fars away searching for victim. Normally they wander regarding 3.4 miles each evening. When they go back to their den at night they carry out the exact same 15- min vigil prior to going to sleep when the sunlight turns up.

They have an one-of-a-kind operating pattern: they have the ability to relocate at a rapid keep up their stomaches short, with periodic jumps. They can run at rates of 19- 25 miles per hr. This is much less than that of residential cats that have longer legs and accomplish rates of as much as 30 miles per hour.

Biologists have some problem researching sand cats in the wild due to their virtually- undetectable tracks, their behavior of diligently hiding their feces in the sand, and their creative habits of shutting their eyes when a light is shone on them during the night to ensure that their eyes will certainly not mirror in the darkness. Yet, sand cats in some places are not worried of people and supposedly can also be gotten out of their dens without protecting themselves.

Sand cats can be subjugated quickly and are frequently marketed as pets in North Africa and the Center East. Nonetheless, when required to chillier and much more damp nations they require to be immunized and maintained in warmed interior centers to deal with respiratory system infections. As a wild species, their all-natural impulses are more powerful and their habits might be much more uncertain than a residential cat. Recording cats for the pet profession endangers their ongoing stability in the wild. It is better to delight in these animals in zoos that are outfitted to provide optimum problems.

Sand Cat Environment

The sand cat likes to stay in rolling desert surface with some lawns and tiny hedges where much more victim can be discovered and not in bare, changing dune. In desert environments where rains is sporadic, daytime temperature levels are very warm, rising to 124 levels F. Throughout evening, there is no moisture or cloud cover to catch warmth and after dark the temperature level dives as reduced as 31 levels F. The sand cats’ body and habits are adjusted to these severe problems.

Sand cats occupy inapplicable locations of North Africa, Arabia and various other components of the Center East, and Central Asia. Sand cats were discovered in the boundary locations of southerly Israel and Jordan in the late 1980s however have actually been thought about extinct because area considering that 2002, mainly as a result of farming growing. So far, tries to reestablish them because location have actually not achieved success.

Sand Cat Diet

Sand cats quest birds, insects, rabbits and tiny rodents such as jerboas and gerbils. They are additionally fierce snake- awesomes, feeding also on poisonous vipers. Their method for eliminating this harmful victim is to stun it with fast strikes to its head prior to catching it with a deadly neck attack.

They consume alcohol water when it is offered however can endure without it for weeks each time, taking in wetness from their food rather. Sand cats have actually plundered human camps during the night to swipe fresh camel‘‘ s milk.

They quest during the night, sliding short and paying attention for any type of pale noises their victim may make. If they listen to the noises of burrowing, they promptly collect their victim. If a kill is as well huge to eat simultaneously they will certainly cover it with sand and return later on to feed.

Sand Cat Predators, Dangers, and Conservation Status

Although sand cats do track and eliminate poisonous serpents, these harmful reptiles are additionally among their major predators Various other risks are jackals, huge owls, caracals and wolves. Residential and feral cats and dogs additionally assault them, complete for the exact same victim, and send illness. Breathing infections typically create fatality for tamed sand cats, particularly ones not immunized or otherwise maintained in a reduced- moisture atmosphere.

Sand cats were categorized as “near threatened” till 2016. Because year, the IUCN Red Listing devalued their standing to “least concern.” Their numbers in the wild are unidentified, however price quotes and their vast geographical distribution indicate they are no more thought about at risk of termination.

A significant lengthy- term danger to the species is environment loss. Some locations of their environment have sporadic plant life that nomadic individuals utilize for animals grazing and for collecting fire wood. When diminished, it gets rid of the ground cover and food resources for the smaller sized animals the sand cat feeds on.

Sand cats are in some cases eliminated by shepherd dogs, infected, or captured in catches meant for foxes or jackals (which intimidate tamed fowl). They are in some cases caught to be marketed in the pet profession. War and motion of human evacuee populaces via wild locations has actually impacted sand cat environments in numerous nations, consisting of Mali, Syria, and Iraq.

Although searching Sand cats in Algeria, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mauritania, Niger, Pakistan, and Tunisia is banned, they are not shielded in Egypt, Mali, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, or the United Arab Emirates. Israel has actually attempted unsuccessfully to reestablish them right into the Arabah Desert.

Sand Cat Reproduction, Infants and Life-span

Sand cats are singular animals, extensively spread over a big location. To assist them locate various other cats throughout country miles, they have a loud breeding telephone call that can seem like a tiny barking dog. Or else, they interact with the exact same type of articulations as residential cats. They additionally spray pee and usage aromas and scrape marks to determine region.

The reproducing period for sand cats varies with their area, environment, and sources. In the Sahara it normally lasts from January to April. In bondage they might reproduce greater than annually.

Pregnancy for sand cats takes 59- 67 days. They can have anywhere from 1- 8 kitties, however the common clutter dimension is 2- 4. Kittycats evaluate regarding an ounce at birth– the weight of a piece of bread. Their eyes open at 2 weeks and they initially eat strong food at 5 weeks. They can set out individually at 3- 4 months and are sexually fully grown at 9- 14 months.

The sand cat’s life-span in the wild is unidentified, however in bondage, they can measure up to 18 years of ages.

Sand Cat Population

The worldwide sand cat population is approximated at over 27,200 grownups. This is thought about to be a conventional price quote. The lengthy- term fad in sand cat population is unidentified.


  1. Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, Available here:
  2. Wikipedia, Available here:
  3. International Society for Endangered Cats (ISEC) Canada, Available here:
  4. Cats for Africa, Available here:
  5. Sand Cat International Studbook Vol. 21, Available here:

Relate animals

Abyssinian Guinea Pig

They are one of the oldest breeds of guinea pig

Ackie Monitor

The ackie monitor has a spiny tail which it uses as in self-defense.


The Albertonectes had the longest neck out of other Elasmosaurids.

American Bully

Though the American bully was bred to look intimidating, it makes an extremely friendly family pet!

Latest Animal News