Sand cats eat gerbils and similar rodents such as jerboas and jirds. They also prey on small birds and cape hares. Sand cats also eat reptiles that they can handle, such as geckos and other small lizards. However, they have also been known to take venomous snakes.
Their food gives sand cats most of the water they need. They're found in northern Africa, the Middle East and central and southwest Asia. The animal is one of the only cats known to live mostly in true desert.
Sand cats are small animals, about 15 to 20 inches long, that stand about 10 to 12 inches at the shoulder. A sand cat weighs between about 3 and 7 1/2 pounds. They're solitary animals that usually hunt at night, using their large ears to find their prey. The sounds they make can be unexpected, and people have compared the sand cat's cries to a dog's bark. This is especially noticeable during the mating season.
Sand cats are well adapted to the desert environment, with fur on the soles of their feet that protect them from the scorching sand. The ears of a sand cat are also low-set, which may protect them from being filled with blowing sand while making the cat's hearing more acute. During the day, sand cats live in burrows.