Sand Cat

Felis margarita

The sand cat (Felis margarita), also referred to as the sand dune cat, is a small cat distributed over African and Asian deserts. (The name "desert cat" is reserved for Felis silvestris lybica, the African wildcat.) The sand cat lives in arid areas that are too hot and dry even for the African Wildcat: the Sahara, the Arabian Desert, and the deserts of Iran and Pakistan.

Victor Loche was the first European to describe the sand cat for science (in 1858). He named the species Felis margarita after Jean Auguste Margueritte, the leader of the expedition during which he had encountered the animal.

The sand cat is a relatively small, stocky cat with short legs, a long tail, and large, pointed ears. They range from 39 to 57 centimetres (15 to 22 in) in length, plus a 23 to 31 centimetres (9.1 to 12 in) tail, and weigh from 1.4 to 3.4 kilograms (3.1 to 7.5 lb). The head is conspicuously broad, and the ears are so widely spaced that they can be flattened horizontally, or even pointed down to aid in hunting.

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