Pallas’ Cat

It’s time for something else!

Palla’s cat, also called the ‘manul’ is a wild cat named after the he German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas, who first described the cat in 1776 under the binomial ‘Felis manul’.

The Manul is a small wild cat that lives in the grasslands and montane steppe of Central Asia. The Manul is negatively affected by habitat degradation, prey base decline, and hunting, and has been classified as Near Threatened by IUCN since 2002.

Characteristics
Pallas’ cat is about the size of a normal domestic cat (with a 46 to 65 centimetres (18 to 26 in) long body and a 21 to 31 centimetres (8.3 to 12 in)), long tail and weighs around 2.5 to 4.5 kg which is 5.5 to 9.9lb). He has a stocky posture and a long, dense fur. Which makes the Manul cat look plushy and cute. Their fur is ochre with dark vertical stripes on the torso and the forelegs. Their winter coat on the other hand is grayer and has less patterns. On their tail they have black rings, and on their forehead they have dark spots. With on their cheeks black stripes running from corner of the eyes. The chin and throat are white, changing into a grey color. They have white and black stripes around their eyes, that make their eyes look rounder and bigger.

Their legs look shorter than those of other cats, and the ears are set low and wide apart. Not to mention they have short claws, wich is pretty unusual. That’s not the only short thing, they also have a shorter jaw, with fewer teeth than the other felines. With the first pair of upper premolars missing.They also have a shorter face, which gives them a bit of a flattened face.

Habitat
Pallas’s cat is native to the steppe regions of Central Asia. They are found in the Transcaucasus and Transbaikal regions of Russia, and, less often, in the Altai, Tyva, and Buryatia Republics. They also inhabit Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Kashmir and across much of western China, especially in the Tibetan Plateau.In 1997, they were reported for the first time as being present in the eastern Sayan Mountains. Populations in the Caspian Sea region, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, are declining, and increasingly isolated.

Behavior
They are solitary cats, and both male and females mark their territory with their own scent. They spend the day in caves, rock crevices or marmot burrows. And they start hunting in the late afternoon. They aren’t fast runners, and they usually hunt primarily by ambush, stalking or using low vegetation and rocky terrain for cover. They feed  a lot on diurnally active prey such as gerbils, voles and pikas. And sometimes they catch young marmots.

Reproduction
The breeding season is relatively short due to the extreme climate in the cat’s native range. Pallas’s cats give birth to a litter of around two to six kittens after a period of 66 to 75 days, usually in April or May. The young kittens are born in sheltered dens, lined with dried vegetation, feathers, and fur. The kittens weigh around 90 grams (3.2 oz) at birth, and have a thick coat of fuzzy fur, which is replaced by the adult coat after around two months. They are able to start hunting at four months, and they reach their adult size at six months. Pallas’s cats have been reported to live up to eleven years in captivity.

In captivity the Manul is having some serious issues. As breeding them is difficult. even though the breed is well, the survival rates are low because of infections. This probably because of an under-developed immune system. As the natural habitat of a Manul is isolated and it would not normally be explosed to any infection. A female was Artificially inseminated for the first time in the Cincinnati Zoo and gave birth to three kittens in June 2011.

Threats
The Manul has been hunted for a long time, specifically for their fur in large numbers in China, Mongolia and Russia. Even though the international trade in manul pelts has ceased a lot since the late 1980’s, there about one thousand hunters of pallas’s cat in Mongolia, with a mean estimated harvest of two cats pet year. they are also shot because they can be mistaken for marmots, which are commonly hunted and trapped on incident in leghold traps set for wolves and foxes. Their fat and organs are used in Mongolia and Russia as medicine, and they are often killed by dogs. While Mongolia has not recorded any trophy exports, skin exports have grown since 2000, with 143 reported exported in 2007.

Protected
Hunting of this wild cat is prohibited in all range countries except Mongolia, where it has no legal protection despite being classified as near threatened in the country. Since 2009, this feline is legally protected in Afghanistan, banning all hunting and trade in its parts within the country.
Resources
Wikipedia.com

Pictures by
Foto Martien, Tambako the jaguar, Stumayhew and Wikipedia.com

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20 responses to “Pallas’ Cat

    • I heard their name before, somewhere on tv, but forgot about it until i saw a picture of them this week with their name below it. :) They are beautiful! With funny facial expressions. :)

  1. They really are fascinating animals. And very majestic. I visit them often in zoos, and I can tell that each of them has a different personality, which definately adds to the fascination.

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