APR 20, 2020 11:21 AM PDT

How Sand Cats Survive in the Harsh Desert Environment

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

The sand cat is a type of feline that spends nearly all its life in the desert. While they may not look that much different from an ordinary house cat at first glance, a closer look reveals just how well-built these animals are to survive in such a punishing environment.

Small and nimble, the humble sand cat treads lightly by night and sleeps away in the shade by day. They take full advantage of their special fur coat to insulate them from the extreme cold at night and the extreme heat in the day. This same fur also covers the sand cat’s footpads, which protects them from being burnt by the scolding sands around them.

Sand cats take fully advantage of the cool night to go on long food scavenges. There aren’t many creatures that like to live in the desert, and sand cats know this, which is why they’ll eat just about anything they can get their paws on. In the most common cases, sand cats use their incredible sense of hearing to pick up low frequency noises from insects and rodents, each of which also roam the desert at night.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, finding a mate in the desert can be a real struggle. Sand cats don’t generally live in groups, and at times, the nearest specimen can be nearly eight miles away. These cats use their incredible sense of hearing to call out to one another, and if they’re lucky, they just may hear back from another.

Sand cats are particularly elusive, and for that reason, we still know very little about them. Future research, however, just might help researchers uncover more about their behavior and lifestyle.

Related: Meet and learn more about the world's smallest cat

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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