The Sand Cat
Scientific Name: Felis margarita
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Weight: 3-8 pounds
The Sand Cat is a very small, strikingly pale cat with a flat, broad head topped by very large ears. The fur is pale sand coloured, light grey or rich golden-sandy, often finely speckled with a faint saddle of interspersed black and silvery hairs over the nape, shoulders, and flanks. The body is marked with partial, longitudinal dark bands and spots that are typically indistinct or absent entirely, but are dark and obvious in small number of individuals. Markings become more distinct on the limbs, as prominent black ‘armbands’ on the upper forelegs and slightly less obvious striations on the hind-legs. The tail is faintly banded, resolving to distinct dark stripes towards the tip, which is black, and feet are covered in fine, dark fur.
The Sand Cat subsists on desert-adapted small vertebrates, small mammals, birds, hares, and reptiles. Highly venomous horned snakes and sand vipers are also a prey source for this cat.
San Cats in captivity breed year-round, though limited information from the wild suggests that breeding is seasonal, at least in some parts of the range. Suggestions have lead scientists to believe that 2 litters a year are produced. Gestation lasts 59-67 days. Litter size is typically 2-4 kittens, but they are capable of producing large litters, and up to 8 has been recorded in captivity.