Scientific name

Felis Margarita thinobia

Locally known as


IUCN status

Least Concern


The sand cat is the only cat species that lives mostly in desert environments. Its fur is of a pale, sandy, light brownish-yellow colour.

Key threats

Residential and commercial development, biological resource use,  human pressures, habitat loss and cross breeding with domestic cats.

Where they're found today

Sandy desert regions across Africa, Central Asia and the Arabian Peninsula.

Abu Dhabi’s efforts

EAD runs a monitoring programme for sand cats in six of our protected areas within the Sheikh Zayed Protected Areas Network. Since 2015, we have recorded over 90 sightings.

Fun facts

  1. They are bold hunters, and their prey often includes venomous snakes, rodents, birds, hares and insects.
  2. They can survive in harsh desert environments without drinking water for weeks at a time, and obtain moisture from their prey.
  3. They have dense hair and padding on their paws to protect against the extreme weather conditions of their habitats, and can sprint at speeds of 30-40km per hour.
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