7 Amazing Sand Cat Facts

7 Amazing Sand Cat Facts

Sand cat facts, Felis margarita. In the vast-arid desert terrain of the Saharan and Arabian deserts lives a genuinely-adorable feline that you might mistake for a house cat if you stumbled across one. Being adorable, however, is the least of their accomplishments. This kitty is a survivalist extraordinaire.From their ears down to their fluffy feet, everything about them is built to survive the harshest conditions on Earth. Here's a list of facts that show just how amazing they are.

1)Fluffy feet help protect them from the desert floor.

Their feet have long, dense hair growing between the toes that covers the feet pads in a thick wad. This wad of hair acts as an insulator between the hot ground and the sand cat. The hair is so thick, it was once described as being like "those of an Arctic fox in winter".

 2) They are the only cat that lives exclusively in true desert.

Although the definition can change depending upon who you're speaking with, a true desert generally means a desert that receives less than 20mm of precipitation per year. These places are the driest of the dry.

3) Low set ears allow for stalking prey behind rocks

Probably the most noticeable trait of sand cats, is their ears. Larger and lower on the head than housecats, the ears are designed to survive the harsh conditions of the desert.

 4)They don't have to drink water.

I'm not saying sand cats don't need water - everything alive on Earth needs water in some way. Sand cats can get away with not drinking it because they  are able to get all of the water they need through their prey. They will still drink water if able to find it. Felines as a whole are a hardy bunch, and can be found on every continent except Antarctica.

5) F. margarita was once named Eremailurus thinobius.

Another sand cat fact is that they were first discovered in 1856 by Captain Victor Loche, a French naturalist on an expedition in Eastern Algeria. 60 years following the first discovery by Loche, S. I. Ognev was examining a specimen and thought he was looking at not only a new species, but an entirely new genus. Ognev decided to name this, what he believed to be, entirely new genus of cuteness Eremailurus thinobius. An entire decade past before the mistake was caught.

sand cat

Photo by: Becker1999

6) Oh yeah, their binomial name is F. margarita.

Unfortunately, they did not get their name due to an innate ability to pound margaritas back like there's no tomorrow. Loche, the French naturalist who first discovered sand cats, decided to name them after the General of his expedition - General Margueritte. The drinking exploits of General Margueritte are not well documented.

sand cat head shot

Photo by: Aardwolf6886

7) They can sprint 30-40 miles per hour!

48.28 -64.27 kilometers per hour for the freedom impaired.

 

Sources/Further Reading:

SAUSMAN, K. (1997), Sand cat Felis margarita: a true desert species. International Zoo Yearbook, 35: 78–81. doi:10.1111/j.1748-1090.1997.tb01193.x

Huang, G., Rosowski, J., Ravicz, M. et al. J Comp Physiol A (2002) 188: 663. doi:10.1007/s00359-002-0332-8

Sunquist, M.; Sunquist, F. (2002). Wild Cats of the World. Chicago, US: University of Chicago Press. pp. 67–74. ISBN 978-0-226-77999-7.

Christiansen, P. and Wroe, S. (2007), BITE FORCES AND EVOLUTIONARY ADAPTATIONS TO FEEDING ECOLOGY IN CARNIVORES. Ecology, 88: 347–358. doi:10.1890/0012-9658(2007)88[347:BFAEAT]2.0.CO;2

http://www.zobodat.at/pdf/Zeitschrift-Saeugetierkunde_41_0286-0303.pdf

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