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PALLAS'S CAT - KEY FACTS
Scientific Name: Otocolobus manul
Size: Head and body 20-25.5 inches (50-65cm);
tail 8.5-12 inches (21-31cm)
Weight: 6.5-11 pounds (3-5kg)
Distribution: From Caspian Sea and Iran, to southeastern Siberia and China.
Habitat: Open terrain, deserts, steppes, and treeless rocky mountainsides.
Diet: Marmots, pikas, small mammals, ground squirrels, hares and birds.
Reproduction: After a gestation period of about 66 days, female gives birth to 4-6 kittens.
Status:  Near Threatened 
Named after the German zoologist and explorer, Professor Peter Pallas (1741-1811), this species of cat is also sometimes known as the Manul. In earlier days it was sometimes called the Steppe Cat or the Black-chested Wild Cat. The word manul is Mongolian for a small wild cat. In appearance this cat looks rather like a wary, crouching Persian cat with an Abyssinian coat. Its legs are short, its typical posture is always rather flattened, and its fur is very thick
- the thickest in the entire cat family. Together, these features give its body a massively wide shape. The stocky effect is increased by its low, broad head with small, blunt ears set down and to the sides. Its huge eyes give it an owl-like expression. It is clear from its shape and the thickness of its fur that this is a species that must endure intense cold at some time in its natural habitat.

The Pallas's Cat prefers open terrain and has been observed living at elevations of up to 13,000 feet (4,000 meters). It is equally at home in deserts, steppe country, or on the rocky slopes of mountains. It stays close to the ground, but is a deft climber on steep rocky surfaces. It usually makes its den in rock cavities and often "borrows" the homes of other species, such as marmots. Because of the generally open country in which it lives, it is essentially an ambush hunter, lying in wait, ready to pounce on small mammals or birds. Its flattened shape may help it to remain concealed while watching for prey.

Little is known about its sexual behavior except that it has a strange call that sounds not unlike the barking of a small dog. It is thought to produce large litters, usually of about five or six kittens. According to Pallas, the original discoverer of the species, they like to mate with domestic cats, and he suggested that such crossings could explain the arrival of the thick-coated Persian Cats. Recent, more sophisticated studies have refuted this suggestion, but it is not clear on what grounds. They may well be right to reject Pallas's idea, but it would certainly be of great interest to put them to the test and try to create some new hybrids that could be examined more closely. This is a southern Russian cat that extends its range down into Afghanistan and Iran, and across to Tibet, Mongolia, and W. China. Despite its wide geographical distribution it is nowhere common and is generally considered to be yet another rare species of wild cat. It was reported that in the 1980s 2,000 skins of this cat were sold to the fur trade each year and that this annual slaughter is creating a gradual decline in numbers.
PALLAS'S CAT PHOTOS
       
               
               
 
 
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