Far beyond the world is an elusive – and enchanting – wildcat, the Pallas Cat (also called Manul), the grasslands and steppes of Central Asia and Eurasia. Meet the flattened, furry kitten that was featured in memes and viral videos, and recently received its own conservation area in the Altai Mountains of Asia.
. 1 He was named after the naturalist Peter Pallas.
The German naturalist Peter Pallas first described the furry wildcat in 1776. He named the kitten Felis manul suspecting that he was an ancestor of the Persian cat's round face, luxurious overcoat and stocky body. (He was wrong.)
2. His scientific name means "ugly ears".
Later the scientific name of the cat was changed from Felis manul to Otocolobus manul ̵
. 3 His unusual ears are useful.
Some think the Pallas cat's ears are ugly, while others think they are adorable. Aside from the arguments, the cat's round ears, which sit flat on the sides of the head, are one of the most distinctive features of the cat. As Crystal DiMiceli, a former wildlife keeper at the Brooklyn Prospect Park Zoo explained in the video above, attaching the cat's low-sitting ears helps hide itself – they do not jam to keep track of the animal's position during hiding or hiding To uncover the hunt. 19659002] 4. It has a dense, plushy coat.
The coat of the Pallas cat is her true coronation. It is longer and more dense than any other coat belonging to a member of the Felid-Art (19459007) (in winter it gets even heavier), and the undercoat on the belly is twice as long as the coat, the rest the fur covers bodywork. The hue ranges from silvery gray in winter to a darker, red tone in warmer months. (Some cats are also red, especially in Central Asia.) Her broad head is speckled and speckled with dark markings, and its bushy tail has stripes and a dark tip. These marks appear darker in the summer.
. 5 His coat mixes with his habitat, which hides it from predators. Palla's cats live in areas ranging from Pakistan to northern India to central China, Mongolia and southern Russia. According to Luke Hunter's Wild Cats of the World his body is not suitable for snow, so he sticks to cold, dry habitats – especially grassy or rocky areas – that protect him from predators from eleven to eleven almost 17,000 feet. The squat cat is not a fast runner. When she realizes danger, she freezes and crouches flat and immobile on the ground, and her coat helps to blend into the environment.
. 6 Pallas & # 39; s cats are not fat – they are just furry.
Pallas & # 39; Cats usually weigh less than 12 pounds and are usually only 2 feet or less tall, which means they are not much taller than a regular domestic cat. Their dense fur layer, however, makes them appear much larger.
. 7 Her pupils are round instead of vertical.
Palla's cats share a common feature with larger wildcats such as lions and tigers: their eyes. Their pupils are round, whereas the pupils of a domestic cat are vertical and slit-shaped. Wondering why some cats have round pupils while others have vertical pupils? A study conducted in 2015 by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, found that pupil shapes of animals may indicate their role in the predator / prey food chain. They analyzed 214 species of terrestrial animals (including cats) and found that species with vertical pupils tended to be predators that were active during the day and at night. In contrast, vertical pupil species were often "active foraging", meaning that they track their prey. Predators closer to the ground, like domestic cats, tended to have vertical pupils, while larger wildcats had round pupils. Pallas & # 39; s cats are small, and they are primarily ambush hunters, so the jury does not know if the results of the study apply to all creatures.
. 8 They live mostly from Pika.
Pallas & # 39; s cats are ambushers and spend much of their time chasing pika, a small mammal, and other critters such as gerbils, voles, hares, gophers, birds, and young marmots. Pika usually makes up more than 50 percent of the cat's diet.
. 9 They could be related to the leopard cat far away.
Peter Pallas believed that the animal was related to the Persian cat. (We believe that it looks like a Maine Coon and a Scottish Fold weaned a baby with steroid milk.) However, experts have found evidence that the closest, but still distant, relative of the wildcat could be the leopard cat.
10 They are not social animals.
The cat of Pallas is notoriously elusive and spends a lot of time hiding in caves, cracks or abandoned caves.
. 11 They do not seem to like each other very much.
Palla's cats may be charmingly fluffy, but they are not the cutest, cuddly creatures in the world. They are indeed very aggressive. Case Study: In The Wild Cat Book authors Fiona and Mel Sunquist report an anecdote by Bill Swanson, the animal research director of the Cincinnati Zoo. Zookeepers believed that a litter of new-born Pallas cats had difficulty breathing, but "as they listened closely, they realized that the sound they heard was the growling and hissing of the kittens – before they even opened their eyes!"  12. Your mating season is short.
Pallas' cats mate between December and March, the females usually give birth between the end of March and May after a gestation period of 66 to 75 days, Pallas & # 39; Cats usually give birth to three or four kittens, but litters can sometimes have up to eight kittens who become self-employed after four to five months, and when they are nine to ten months old they are mature enough to reproduce.
. 13 They are classified as "almost threatened".
It is estimated that Palla's cats can live in the wild for up to six years, but due to predators and other dangers, their lifespan is likely to be half as long as known in captivity for almost 12 years.
In 2002, the International Union for Conservation classified the cat of Pallas as "almost threatened" and this status remains until today. Many factors contribute to their low numbers, including agriculture, agricultural activities, mining and poisoning campaigns to reduce pike and marmot stocks. They are also often killed in traps intended for wolves and foxes or domestic dogs. And despite international trade bans and legal protections in some countries, they are often hunted for their fur. (The cat's fat and organs are also used to make traditional medicines.)
Scientists do not have enough data to estimate the size of Pallas cat's population, but because of their scarcity and the many threats they face Experts believe that their numbers have fallen by 10 to 15 percent in the last decade. To better understand and protect the animal, an international team of conservationists has recently secured a sanctuary for the rare cat in the 12-kilometer Sailyugemsky Nature Park, located in the Altai Mountains between Kazakhstan and Mongolia. There they hope to monitor the population, to study their habitat and to build up a database of information describing the encounters in detail.
Wild Cats of the World by Luke Hunter