About
Animal Facts
Common Name:
Sand Cat
Scientific Name:
Felis margarita
Behavior:
  • Sand cats have an acute sense of hearing and patiently wait to hear prey moving under the sand.
  • They are excellent diggers and will dig up rodents out of their burrows.
  • These small cats are primarily nocturnal and solitary.
  • They may share burrows but never occupy the same burrow at the same time.
Diet:
Carnivore
Height:
11 in
Weight:
7 lb
Length:
2.5 ft
Gestation Period:
60 days
Number of Young:
4
Habitats:
  • Desert
Fun Facts:
  • Life span in the wild is unknown.
  • Dense hair on the pads of their feet protect against hot sands and the cold of the desert.
  • Fearless hunters, they can prey on venomous snakes.
  • May "meow" like domestic cats and use a bark-like call during breeding season.
  • An ancient Muslim story says sand cats accompanied the Prophet Muhammad and his daughter in a journey across the desert, leading to respect for these cats.
Threats:
  • Disease
  • Poaching / Over Consumption
Endangered Status
Endangered Status
  • Extinct in Wild (EW)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Not Evaluated (NE)

Zookeepers at the North Carolina Zoo found a unique way to provide exercise for the sand cats:  a cat-sized exercise wheel.  Training the cats to walk on the wheel allows them to stay fit while burning energy and calories.

Saving Species Plan Logo

This species is cooperatively managed as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan program program. This program is responsible for developing a Breeding and Transfer Plan for each species in the program.