Arabian Sand Cat

Arabian Sand Cat


Northern Sahara, Egypt, Israel, Arabia, Turkey, and Pakistan to Iran


Deserts to semi-desert areas


With big ears and large faces, sand cats appear top-heavy, with heads too big for their small bodies. However, these features are part of their adaptation for life in the deserts, where their ears are used to detect prey, and thick pads enable them to walk across the hot sand. Its pale coloring helps keep this cat cool and well camouflaged.

Arabian Sand Cat

Sand cats avoid the heat of the day by resting in holes dug under rocks and bushes. Often mistaken for barking dogs at night, sand cats produce a similar vocalization that has been described as both yodeling and barking. These loud calls carry over the desert, enabling the solitary cats to find mates when needed. These small cats have a reputation as fearless snake hunters. They catch venomous snakes by stunning them with rapid blows to the head, then killing them with a bite to the neck.


After a gestation period of 60-63 days, the female gives birth to 1 to 4 kittens in a secluded den. The young are born with a distinct coat makings which fade in adulthood. The male plays no part in rearing the young. These cats are considered full grown adults at 6 months of age.

Interesting Facts:

Their large forward-facing eyes allow them to judge distances very accurately.

Arabian Sand Cat
Arabian Sand Cat
Class: mammals
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felis
Species: margarita harrisoni
Length: Body: 16-22 inches; tail: 10-14 inches
Weight: 4-7 pounds
Average Lifespan: 7.5 years
Wild Diet: Birds, insects, rodents, hares and reptiles. Require little water, getting most of their fluids from the prey they eat.
Predators: Larger cats and birds of prey. Humans use them in the fur trade.

This is an ssp animal

USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building: Desert Zone

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