The sand cat is called ‘the cat that digs holes’ by Saharan nomads. I think uniquely, this cat makes its home exclusively in burrows.
The sand cat is the only true desert cat. It either occupies an abandoned (or even a live one – see below) burrow made by a red fox, corsac fox, Ruppel’s fox, or a porcupine, which are of adequate proportions or enlarges the burrow of a gerbil or ground squirrel.
One den was found to be housing a female sand cat and her three kittens in addition to five gerbils who I presume had made the original burrow which had been customised by the cat.
The burrows are shallow and dug into compact soil at the base of a mound or perhaps beneath a shrub. It might be sited within a flat area of sandy desert.
Some examples of the sand cat burrow:
- Eastern Karakum – single entrance and 3 meters long.
- Niger – 15 centimetres in diameter and 1.5 meters long. It was straight and sloped gently to a max depth of about 60 centimetres.
Source? The best: Wild Cats of the World by the Sunquists.