Other Common Names: Sand dune cat
Genus & Species: Felis margarita
Sand cats are listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
Found in Central Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Sahara Desert of Africa.
Found in arid, dry habitats, like deserts. Habitats range from plains to rocky valleys. Can be found in areas with extreme temperature ranges from 123°F – 31°F.
Primarily nocturnal, but will occasionally hunt at dawn and dusk (crepuscular).
Under human care, average lifespan is 13 years. Life span in the wild is not well known.
Diet in the wild: Small mammals, birds, spiders, and insects. They are opportunistic hunters (feeding on whatever they can find) and have been known to attack venomous snakes.
Diet in the zoo: Whole prey, ground feline diet and weekly bones.
Sand cats are the smallest of all wild cats. They have distinctively large ear pinnae (the outer cartilage covering of an ear) to protect their ears from the surrounding elements, including sand.
Little is known about sand cats in the wild, leading to the current estimation of individuals to potentially be lower than actuality. Major threats to sand cats are habitat loss and degradation.