IN THE heart of an arid desert, during the dark hours of the night, a sand cat emerges from its den and stops. It looks around and listens. Then, crouching low to the ground, the animal quietly begins its trek across the sandy terrain.
Suddenly, the sand cat leaps upon its unwary prey—a gerbil. Afterward, the prowl continues through the night, with the sand cat making occasional leaps into the air to catch more prey. If it catches more than it can eat, the sand cat will cover what is left with sand. It returns to its den in the early morning and seldom appears during the day. Consider some intriguing features of this elusive creature: