The Sahara Animals
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Animals of the Sahara Desert

Hopefully we will be adding a few more animals in the coming weeks, but the other 5 are now completed, after a major update in October 2004 (the Gazelle is on animals page 2)

The Caracal
This handsome small cat has dense short reddish-brown fur. Under parts of chin and body are white, and a narrow black line runs from the corner of the eye to the nose. Its ears are long, narrow and tipped with long black tufts of black hair. A juvenile has black on the outside of the ears which disappears as it becomes an adult. The pupils of a caracal's eyes contract to form circles rather than the slits found in most small cats. A caracal has a long slender body, long legs and a tapering tail which is about a third as long as its body. Head and body length are as long as 35 inches, weight a maximum of 40 pounds. Sexes look alike.Sometimes this animal is called a desert lynx or an African lynx. Experts disagree on whether or not a caracal is truly a lynx. It is found mainly in dry savannah and scrub but avoids sandy deserts.The caracal ranges through drier portions of Africa and into Arabia, Afghanistan and India. It has become scarce in North Africa, South Africa, and parts of Asia.

The Desert Hedgehog

The desert hedgehog is the smallest hedgehog of the family. It is 5 1/2 to 11 inches long (14-28 cm). It weighs 10-18 ounces (300-500 g). The spines can be wrinkled and the color can be dark to light colors. It can be a mix of brown, yellow, white, and black. The rounded ears and the pointed snout are brown. The forehead and sides are white and the feet and tail are dark brown.

They live in the deserts of northern Africa, south to Mali, Niger, Sudan, northern Ethiopia, and northern Somalia. They also can live on the Arabian Peninsula. They live in underground burrows and in rocks and cliffs.
The Sand Fox (Above)

Lifespan. The Sand Fox usually lives for about 9 to10 years.

Appearance. The Sand Fox is mostly sand colored, except with a white underbelly and a few black marks on its body-hence its name-and has a low body with relatively short legs. The Sand Fox is quite small, only about 5 pounds.

Prey. The Sand Fox feeds mostly on rodents, small animals, small reptiles, birds, eggs, wild melons, and insects.

Predators. There are no known predators of the Sand Fox.

Breeding Habits. After mating, a female Sand Fox waits about 52 days before giving birth.

The Fennec Fox

(Fennecus zerda)

Habitat: Arid, sandy regions

Diet: Plant material, small rodents, birds and their eggs, lizards and insects, such as the harmful migratory locust. Laboratory studies suggest that Fennecus can survive without free water for an indefinite period of time. Plants are also an important part of their diet since they may be an important source of water. Some food is apparently obtained by digging, as evidenced by the pronounced scratching and raking habit of captive fennec fox.

Reproduction: Females normally give birth once a year, in late winter or early spring. Gestation is 50 to 52 days with 2 to 5 young in a litter.

General:Fennec Fox is the smallest canid, but has the relatively largest ears. Their feet have hairy soles, enabling the animal to run in loose sand and shield from the heat of the burning desert.

Behavior: Nocturnal and quite agile. Males mark territories with urine.

Social Structure: Lives in groups of up to 10 individuals