I found a wonderful website with pictures and info about animals that are native to deserts. It’s amazing that any animal can survive such harsh climates.
This cat might look a lot like an ordinary domestic cat, but it was born to live in the desert. In fact, sand cats (Felis margarita) can survive in the kind of testing environments most house cats couldn’t endure for more than a couple of days. For one thing, they have extra tufts of fur on their feet to protect them from the scorching sand. They can also go for months without drinking water, getting all the moisture they need from their food.
Zooborns.com says of the species:
“Specially adapted for desert life, sand cats can thrive in some of the world’s driest areas, beyond the range of any other feline. Much like the fennec fox, sand cats sport big furry pads between their toes to dance along the hot sand and oversized ears, which act like radiators to disperse heat. The sand cat’s oversized ears help to dissipate heat and detect prey scurrying along the sand, also like fennec fox.”
Isn’t it amazing how evolution can create such unusual life simply by tweeking an existing body design (the wild cat) to handle novel/extreme conditions? I would’ve never thought that a cat species could be native to a desert.
Sadly, though, this cat is endangered. But there are people at a zoo in Tel Aviv that are trying to save them. Check out the zoo’s website to see the work they are doing.