Pallas’s cat is similar in size to a domestic cat but it looks much bigger because of its stocky build and its long, thick coat, which helps protect it in its frosty habitat. Its shaggy coat is especially thick on its belly to protect it from the snow while stalking prey. The fur changes color depending on the season, in winter being a frosted gray and in spring a gray/fox-red. The pupils of its large eyes, unlike those of other small cats, contract to small circles instead of slits.
Crepuscular animals are those that are active primarily during twilight (that is, the periods of dawn and dusk). This is distinguished from diurnal...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Ambush predators are carnivorous animals that capture or trap prey by stealth, luring, or by (typically instinctive) strategies utilizing an elemen...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
A burrow is a hole or tunnel excavated into the ground by an animal to create a space suitable for habitation, temporary refuge, or as a byproduct ...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
Pallas’s cats occur in the west from the Caspian Sea through Pakistan, Kazakhstan and northern India to China and Mongolia. They inhabit arid, montane shrublands and grasslands, rocky outcrops, scree slopes, and ravines in areas, where the continuous snow cover is below 15-20 cm (6-8 in). In the central part of their range, they live in hilly landscapes, high plateaus, and intermontane valleys that are covered by dry steppe or semi-desert vegetation, such as low shrubs and xerophytic grasses.
Secretive and solitary, Pallas’s cats move slowly but purposefully, concealing themselves within their environment and blending into the background. They are mainly crepuscular but in some areas they may also be active during the day. In the daytime, Pallas's cats shelter in rock crevices or small caves, the most common place being the abandoned burrows of marmots. Males occupy larger territories than females, which overlap those of a few females. Males and females both scent mark their territory. They are adept predators and hunt by stalking and then ambushing prey, walking fast and opportunistically pouncing on prey. They sometimes wait at the entrances of burrows to pounce when the animal exits.
Pallas's cats are carnivores and mostly eat small rodents and pikas. Small mammals like mouse hares, murines, ground squirrels, and voles are also eaten, as also small birds, grasshoppers, and lizards.
Pallas’s cats have a polygynous mating system, with males mating with several females during a particular mating season. The male follows a female for several days during mating, perhaps to guard her from other males. Their breeding season is from December to March. 3 to 6 kittens are produced after a gestation lasting 9 to 10 weeks. The kittens usually stay inside their den until they are 2 months old, at which time ‘molting’ takes place and they grow an adult coat. At 3 to 4 months of age, they follow the mother to forage in social mother-kitten groups. Kittens will disperse when they are 4 to 5 months of age when usually they have reached their adult size and weight. The young may disperse far from the maternal den and mature quickly. They become reproductively mature within their first year of age.
Major threats to this animal are the large-scale poisoning of vole and pika populations, which are important prey items for Pallas’s cats. Habitat fragmentation and development are other increasing threats to Pallas’s cats. This could cause local extinction of this species, which is already rare, due to the destruction of habitat and the increased number of domestic dogs that prey heavily on these cats. They have also been hunted for many years for their luxurious fur, but international trade in their skin has declined in recent years.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Pallas’s cat is approximately 58,000 mature individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing.