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The sand cat, the cutest of felines

The sand cat is sporadically encountered in the Sahara Desert of North Africa, across the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Pakistan.

Among other things, these felines rely on their small size and coloration to camouflage themselves on the prairies, where natural hiding places are rare. This species is less territorial than most other cats, as the males share their dens and are quite calm in nature. Sand cats are solitary and females give birth alone.

A body adapted to their surroundings

Sand cats are short-legged, relatively large-headed and broad-nosed. They are well protected from the desert heat thanks to their long fur that covers their pads, which allows them to walk on the hot sand. Their ears are large and set low; they are able to detect ultrasound emitted by rodents, but inaudible to the human ear. In fact, carnivores, sand cats mainly eat small desert rodents such as jerboas, but also birds, lizards and invertebrates. They do not need to live permanently near a source of drinking water, as they draw the water they need from their diet.

The sand cat weighs less than a domestic cat. -Pete Gallop/Shutterstock

A dangerous life

The sand cat is hunted by many predators, including poisonous snakes, birds of prey and wolves. However, the man is still the most important threat weighing on him. Human activities reduce its territory, the presence of livestock reduces the available vegetation on which small mammals feed, while domestic dogs and cats compete with the sand cat for prey and can transmit diseases to it.

The World of Animals & Nature is a quarterly magazine.
The World of Animals & Nature is a quarterly magazine. – The world of animals no. 42

Find the magazine “Le Monde des Animaux” in newsstands and at monmag.fr (paper and digital versions and subscriptions).

The World of Animals & Nature is a magazine dedicated to wild fauna and flora from around the world. Through captivating stories and sublime photographs, the magazine offers a true visual safari in the heart of nature.

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