Have you ever heard about Sand Cats? Why they were named like that? How they look like? Where and now they live and survive? In this article I am going to tell you some interesting facts about such creatures like sand cats.
At first glance the desert seems to be uninhabited. But nonetheless there is one of the most formidable cats in the world able to live its everyday life in such harsh climate. This cat is the sand cat.
The sand cat looks like an ordinary domestic cat. It has yellowish-red fur and it is no bigger than a large house cat. The resemblance is not a coincidence. In fact the sand cat is closely related to the African wildcat Felis silvestris libyca. It is believed to be the ancestor of all domestic cats.
The sand cat is a small cat with short legs and relatively long tail. It has a distinct pattern of dark stripes through its fur that makes it similar to pet tabbies. In the wild, this distinct pattern helps camouflage the sand cat among of desert rocks and sand.
The sand cat is also distinguished by its broad head and the wide space between its ears. Its paws equipped with thick cushions of fur that help it to move across deep sand without sinking. Also it helps to insulate the sand cat while moving over hot sand. The claws on its paws are short and not very sharp.
Habitat and lifestyle
The sand cats are found in both sandy and stony deserts. They prefer flat or undulating terrain avoiding bare sand dunes where there is relatively little food. As well as other desert cats, the sand cats dig burrows in soft sand dunes. The den is the place of refuge from the cold desert nights and also from the midday heat. The sand cats are mainly nocturnal animals. It is believed that they hunt in the early morning and after dusk, when temperatures are moderate.
These creatures have been spotted as far apart as Western Sahara, Israel and Pakistan. Those living in Pakistan are oficially endangered. However, these felines may survive precisely because they are known as very shy animals and they are are so careful to avoid humans.
Being excellent diggers, the sand cats make burrows for themselves to shelter from the scorching sun. Also, it helps them to catch prey. As mentioned before, the thick cushions of long hair prevent the cats from sinking into the sand.
Their mating period lasts for about a week. Two months later 3 cats are born on average. After five months they will reach most of their body mass. When they are six to eight months old they will become completely independent. By that age they are already able to eat some solid food. Then the sand cats become adult and in some time they will be ready to procreation.