Video Of The Week — Gorgeous Sand Cat Kittens Seen In The Wild For The First Time

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Photo Credit: Gregory Bretton via Panthera.org

In late September, Gregory Breton and his team were returning to their campsite after spending seven long hours scouting the hot, dusty, Moroccan Sahara for sand cats. Suddenly, just four kilometers away from their destination, they noticed three pairs of gleaming eyes. Upon getting closer, the researchers realized they had stumbled upon something that, to their knowledge, had never been encountered in the wild before – sand cat kittens!

Breton, who works with Panthera, a non-profit organization devoted to conserving the world’s 40 wild cat species and their ecosystems, says finding the felines is not easy. That’s because the stealthy animals that are most active at dusk, night, and dawn are extremely good at hiding and have the perfectly colored fur to help them blend in with their environment. The cats also leave behind no visible pugmarks or prey remains, making them extremely hard to track.

Though the kittens that the researchers found were too young for radio-collars, the team did manage to put a tracking device on an adult female sand cat, possibly the mother, that was also discovered in the area. Breton, who outlined the discovery in his blog, writes, "If we collect footage of her and follow her for a long period, we can gather data on the natural reproduction cycles and offspring dispersal of this species in the wild - all topics never before documented."

Photo Credit: Gregory Bretton via panthera.org

Though they may look frail, sand cats, which possess slightly broader faces and bigger ears than domestic cats, are hardy animals. Endemic to northern Africa, the Middle East and southwest and central Asia, the animals endure the desert’s wild temperature fluctuations by digging burrows in the sand or taking shelter beneath rocks and shrubs during the day. The adept hunters obtain most of their moisture from their prey, which includes rodents like mice and gerbils, as well as small birds, lizards, and snakes.

Resources: Panthera.org, earthtouchnews.org

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2253 Comments
  • silverstream77
    They're so adorable!
  • pookpine
    pookpine26 days
    I love sand cats
    • ravenwing
      ravenwingabout 1 month
      Sand cats or sand dune cats are one of the rarest cats in the world . these cats look like babies for their entire lives. It is illegal to keep them as pets.
      • ravenwing
        ravenwingabout 1 month
        I only know this because I had to do a manual report for school😄. Also because I am opposed with cats!
      • sylyzubivyha
        sylyzubivyhaabout 1 month
        WOW! i love cats
        • laylaysis
          laylaysisabout 2 months
          So cute
          • queennonobidodo
            I love cats!!! The kittens are so cute!
            • pskxcnvcncvkjfv
              Who would like to be in the cat club
              • pskxcnvcncvkjfv
                The cats are so cute!
                • hedgehogcooll12
                  Omg that's so cute cute cute cute
                  • mattchien
                    mattchien5 months
                    cute cute cute cute cute cute cute cute cute