One of the world’s best-looking felids is the Arabian sand cat, Felis margarita. It’s endemic to parts of the Sahara Desert, the Arabian Peninsula, and Turkestan (it’s also called the “sand-dune cat”). Individuals are eminently well adapted for desert life: their feet are thickly padded and furred for walking on loose (and hot) sand, they’re camouflaged, they’re crepuscular, and they have relatively big ears that act as heat radiators.
Sand cats dig shallow burrows in the sand or scrub to escape the daytime heat, and hunt jerboas, sand voles, and other rodents, as well as reptiles and even locusts. Since some inhabit completely waterless areas, it’s thought that they can survive without drinking.
Here are two sand cat kittens, Nahah and (ugh) Faith, born in the Cincinnati Zoo on October 29, and first shown to the public on January 20. Mom is in the second picture.
VIDEO: look at these adorable little guys in the fur: