Species: F. Margarita
An Arabian sand cat is a small wild cat found in deserts of Africa and the Middle East. These cats are about the size of a small house cat. Adults usually range in size from 18 to 23 inches long and weigh between 3 to 7.5 pounds. Despite their small size, sand cats are fearless and effective hunters that have adapted to live in an extreme environment. They are also one of the most difficult wild cats to study. Their light brown fur blends in with the sand, and they have foot coverings that barely leave a footprint when they walk. They have also learned to crouch and close their eyes when hunting so their eyes will not reflect any light and alert nearby prey.
- Their lifespan is about 13 years.
- Their special foot pads keep them from sinking in the sand and protect their feet from extreme heat.
- Their main prey is gerbils, but they also eat snakes, reptiles and beetles.
- The cats are nocturnal, so they hunt at night.
- Being nocturnal helps the cats keep cool in the desert.
- Temperatures can reach 124 degree during the day and 31 degrees at night.
- If it gets too hot, they burrow into the sand.
- They use their very sensitive hearing to find their prey. They listen for the scratches of the prey running across or digging into the sand.
- Their special paws are also great for digging. They often have to dig their prey out of the sand.
- They never needs to drink water. They get all the moisture they need from their prey.
- They sometimes cover their prey in sand and return to eat it later.
The Arabian sand cat is naturally rare, but it also faces threats from humans. Bigger cities and farms are destroying their natural habitat and changing the desert ecosystem. There are more droughts, too, which reduces the prey available for the sand cats. There is also a threat from the animals that come with humans – like dogs and cats – that might attack the small mammal.