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17 animals amazingly adapted to thrive in deserts

By: Jaymi Heimbuch on March 4, 2014, 9 a.m.
sand cat prowling

Photo: Tambako The Jaguar /Flickr

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Sand cat

This adorable little cat is practically a cartoon character — small, cute, and yet with superpowers for living in the desert. Found in northern Africa and central and southwest Asia, this is the only felid that lives in sandy desert habitat. Its ears are large and set low, which helps protect it from wind-blown sand as well as improves its ability to locate prey hiding underground. Its thickly furred paws help it cope with the extremes of hot and cold sand. Indeed, the sand cat can tolerate temperatures from below freezing at 23 degrees Fereinheit to scalding days of 126 degrees Ferinheit. To escape the extreme temperatures, sand cats inhabit burrows, taking up residence in those abandoned by foxes or rodents. They are active during the day in winter and are nocturnal during the summer.