Sand Cat

Felis Margarita thinobia

Species name: Sand Cat
Scientific name: Felis Margarita thinobia


Locally known as: Hirr


Description: 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.


IUCN status: Least Concern


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.