Name:Pallas' cat, Pallas's cat, Pallas cat, manul
Latin name:Felis manul
Appearance: The Pallas cat is a small, stocky wild cat. Its body is thick and covered with long fur which is usually light grey to a rusty-red brown, and the guard hairs are tipped with white, giving the cat a frosted appearance. The legs are short and stocky, sometimes marked with darker stripes. The cat's head is broad, its ears small and placed low on the sides of its head, and the eyes are large and vary from green to orange. Black stripes line its face, and dots of black are often present on the forehead. White patches under the cat's eyes allow it see well at night by reflecting light into its eyes. The pupils of the Pallas cat retract to circles, not slits. The tail is thick and fluffy and usually has narrow rings of black around it.
Pallas cats weigh from 6 to 11 pounds (2.5-4.5 kg). Length is about 19.5-25.35 inches (500-650mm) for the head and body, and tail length is about 8-12 inches (210-310mm). In general, they're about the size of a large housecat.
Habitat:The Pallas cat lives in Turkey, Mongolia, Russia, Siberia, and across China. Its range tends to be in the deserts and steppes and in mountain ranges up to 13,000 ft (4000m). The weather tends to be arid and very cold, which is why the cat has such a thick coat. The ears are small to prevent frostbite. They live in dens dug by other animals such as marmots, and feed on small rodents as well as pika and birds.
Reproduction: Females reach sexual maturity at about 1 year of age. The gestation period is 60-75 days, and the young are usually born in late April or early May. 1-6 kittens may be born, though usually it's 3-4.
Threats in the Wild: While Pallas cats don't have natural predators in the wild, they are prized by humans for their fine fur coats. They are legally protected in Mongolia and China.
Alderton, David (1993), Wild Cats of the World, Facts on File, New York
Nowak, Ronald M. (1999) Walker's Mammals of the World, Volume 1, Sixth Edition, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London
Murphy, Kelly (2001) Zoonooz- December 2001, Zoological Society of San Diego, San Diego