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Natural UAE

Sand Cat

In the deep sands we find the sand cat (Felis margarita). Its present distribution in the United Arab Emirates is probably limited to the Liwa, although there are confirmed reports that in the past it was also found at Jebel Ali, near Dubai, and in Falaj al Mualla in the Emirate of Umm al Qaiwain. Orange-grey to buff in colour, with a white belly, it is the smallest of the Arabian wild cats. A large sand cat barely reaches half the size of an average domestic cat. The tip of the back of its ears is black, it has black stripes on its elbows and dark rings at the end of its tail which ends with a black tip. The sand cat has long tufts of hair growing between its toes that help it to cross soft sand and also protect the naked foot pads from the hot desert surface in summer. Living in areas where there is no natural shelter available, the sand cat is the only cat in Arabia that digs its own burrow, in which its lives all year around. Active at night, the sand cat emerges from its burrow to hunt at dusk. Insects and reptiles form a large part of its diet, but it will overpower mammals up to the size of a young hare.

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