Cat of the African Sand By: Caitlyn Mutchler

The sand cat lives in a vast range from the Sahara to Pakistan. As well as in some deserts in west Asia.

The sand cat lives in burrows that it digs, and shares with other sand cats although they will not occupy the burrow at the same time. Sand cats depend on their digging ability to find food and make shelter to survive in the desert.

The sand cat has large fuzzy ears that are far apart on its square looking flat-topped head. Its ears are very broad at the base and extend down the side of their face. They have red streaks that run across their checks from the corners of their large eyes. They have short limbs, and the pads of their feet are covered in fur to help them move silently across the desert sand. Their tail has 2 or 3 rings and then a black tip.

A theory called gloger's rule explains why the sand cat has camoflauged fur even though it is nocturnal. This theory says that the color of and animals fur is related to the humidity of the biome it lives in. For example higher humidity brighter colors.

Sand cats have an enlarged tympanic buldge (bony projection in middle ear) which allows them to hear higher frequencies they otherwise would not be able to hear. Their large ears also help with thermoregulation, which dissapates heat from their body through their ears. Allen's rule explains that because of thermoregulation animals in colder temperatures have smaller ears and the opposite for animals in hot temperatures.

Sand cats can purr but not roar which classifies them in the small cat family. This is because of a bone in their throat. The bone in big cats throats is fused enabling them to roar, whereas little cats have a non fused bone enabling them only to purr.

The sand cats long whiskers help them find their way around, but for all cats are much like a human’s fingerprint. Each cat has a different whisker pattern.

Sand cats use their ears o locate prey above and below ground, as well as listening for predators. Their prey consists of small rodents and even snakes which they stun with rapid blows to the head. They are also known to bury prey and return later to eat it.


"Sand Cat." Encyclopedia of Animals, Jan. 2006, p. 1. EBSCOhost,

Hall-Martin, Anthony, and Paul Bosman. Cats of Africa. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution,1998. Print.

"Sand Cat." Smithsonian's National Zoo. N.p., 12 Aug. 2016. Web. 20 Apr. 2017.


Created with images by MrGuilt - "Sand Cat at the Ready" • MrGuilt - "Posing Sand Kitten copy" • Benimoto - "Sand Cats are cuuuute" • MrGuilt - "Slurp!" • Benimoto - "A sand cat" • MrGuilt - "Mom and Baby Sand Cat" • MrGuilt - "Why are you still down there?"

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