They are tiny – less than 8 pounds- but ferocious and they are endangered.
Sand cats are one of the most unusual of the 41 species of cat on earth. They inhabit unforgiving desert land and can stand temperature extremes to eke out a living in a nearly waterless climate. Like many of the 34 species of cats considered small they are threatened by human activity and the climate they live in.
Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RCSN ) has recently pledged to protect them and other wild cats in the nation’s conservation sanctuaries.
In the statement released to the media The RSCN, said that it works carefully to protect the habitats of the targeted animals.
“The RSCN prioritises the rehabilitation of habitats, and that is through enhancing forest habitat connectivity and re-vegetating arid areas to ensure wild species protection,” said RSCN’s Director of the Centre for Biodiversity Control Nashaat Hmeidan. Hmeidan was quoted in the Jordan Times
The RCSN is assessing the health of the nation’s forests and is actively planting oak trees. Surveillance cameras between 2012 and 2022, showed that lynx and other wild cat species live in their natural habitats, noting that lynx were also found in the Mujib Biosphere Reserve.A
Sand cats are found in the eastern desert, according to the RCSN, But they are threatened by drought and habitat destruction. The RCSN also said the RSCN has documented the presence of sand cats in the eastern desert and is developing a strategy to protect the cats
Sand cats are compact with short limbs. Their coat is sandy to grey brown. They tend to be pale on the belly and have some striping on the legs.
The cats are almost two feet long in the body and the tail is about one foot long. These felines weigh up to about 7 pounds, but many are smaller.
Sand cats live in three distinct regions of the world: Africa’s Sahara desert, which stretches through Algeria, Niger and Morocco; throughout the Arabian peninsula; and in parts of central Asia. Asian cats live in Turkmenistan, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
They are adapted to life in sandy desert. They can live in daytime temperatures above 120 degrees and night time temperatures around freeing. They retreat to burrows to avoid the worst extremes. They live where soil allows them to burrow.
Most of their fluid comes from prey animals. These cats eat anything they can catch from insects spiders and scorpions on to rodents, hares and birds. They have a reputation of being fearless snake hunters and kill and eat poisonous snakes. They have very good hearing which enables them to track and catch prey
Females are pregnant for about two months and bear a litter of one-ounce kittens with two to four being the most common litter size. Litters can be as large as eight.
Other countries in the Arabian Peninsula are also working to conserve the Arabian leopard.