Last Updated on August 5, 2023 by Pets Feed
A wild inhabitant of the steppes and foothills, a ruthless predator with a charming muzzle and the most furry fur, a Pallas’s cat, also called the manul, whom everyone wants to stroke, but, fortunately, it rarely happens.
Pallas’s cat photos
Pallas’s cat is a small animal 50-65 centimeters in length with a thick fluffy tail, the length of which reaches 30 centimeters. A wild cat has a well-formed heavy skeleton and strong muscles, as well as a predator. The head is small, strong, slightly flattened with well-developed jaws and “tanks” on the cheeks. Eyes are yellow with round pupils. The ears are round, wide, low set and thrown to the back of the head. Manula wool is the thickest among all cats, the length of hairs is up to 7 centimeters.
Such a fur coat allows the manuli to withstand 50-degree winter frosts. Pallas’s cat is a sprinter, skillfully hiding, he catches prey with one jump and immediately deprives her of the opportunity to escape, which is facilitated by 30 strong teeth with fangs, which are three times longer than that of domestic cats, as well as powerful long claws rounded at the ends. This is the perfect machine for food and life in the harsh Asian foothills, mountains and steppes.
Character and behavior
The charming appearance of the Pallas’s cat is very deceiving – it is a harsh, ruthless predator, living alone and not tolerating the presence of other competitors in its large territory. He leads mainly a nocturnal lifestyle, preferring to hide during the day in fox or badger burrows, which he chooses to live in, or in natural caves, and go hunting at night.
It is difficult to escape from rodents and birds from its powerful paws and jaws. The low-key coat color of fur helps the Pallas’s cat especially in hunting – it’s more convenient to hide, waiting for prey, and at the moment of danger you can not flee, but hide, merging with the surrounding nature. The art of disguise, by the way, in many ways does not allow scientists to actively observe the Pallas’s cat in his natural habitat. Pallas’s cat enters into relations with females once a year, and mating rivalry among manul cats necessarily ends in bloody showdowns.
And the females of the Pallas’s cat can compete with the males in severity. After 60 days, the females give birth to kittens, on average, from two to six blind and helpless babies.
Pallas’s cat grow up quite quickly: at 3-4 months they can already hunt on their own, and at 10 months they become adult predators and leave to live separately on their own territory.
“Among cats, the Pallas’s cat has the weakest immunity,” says Dmitry Malikov, deputy director for science of the Saylyugemsky Altai National Park. – This Pallas’s cat lives in a very cold climate, where most bacteria simply do not survive, so historically they did not need to develop good immunity. Because of this, Pallas’s cat is very difficult to keep even in zoos – they often die, like their offspring, and there can be no talk of home living – without constant veterinary supervision, animals will die very quickly.
“In no case is it possible to keep the Manul cat in apartments, houses or even special enclosures,” says Russian experts, where for many years they have been protecting and studying the Pallas cat population in the Altai foothills. – First of all, because anyone who buys a Pallas cat from her hands violates the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. In many countries, the Manul cat is protected by law as a rare species in decline.
Capturing the cat Manul, taking it out of the wild to sell it is a criminal offence. People who want to have a Pallas cat as a pet, encourage poaching, contribute to the destruction of the population of these rare cats.
Over time, realizing that not a cute cat has appeared in the house, but a dangerous predator, some decide to release the Pallasen cat into captivity. But these animals can no longer live alone, they are condemned to death. The only way to save them is to give them to the zoo, where the probability that the Manul cat will survive is much greater, but not everything is 100% soon.
“Unfortunately, today too few scientists study the life of the Pallas cat in the wild, so there is no complete data on their numbers in Russia,” says Dmitry MALIKOV, deputy director of science of the national park. Saylyugemsky Altai. –
The Manul cat is very difficult to track, he lives in inaccessible territories, so the information is approximate, for example, several years ago we had data that 400 Manul cats remained in the Altai Republic.
- Pallas’ cat received its middle name in honor of Peter Palace, a German scientist who met him in the Caspian steppes in 1782. After the discovery, the cat was given the unusual name Otocolobus, which means “ugly ear” in Latin.
- Pallas’ cat fur is the fluffiest and thickest among all cats.
- Pallas’ cat can be found in the mountains at an altitude of 3000 to 4800 m above sea level.
- A thick fur coat and short legs restrict the mobility of the Pallas’ cat, so he runs on very rare occasions.
- In case of danger, the manul tries to hide in the hope that it will not be noticed, but if it is revealed, then it will certainly give back to the offender.
- Pallas’ cat can tolerate cold down to -50 ° C. The density of the manul’s wool is 9000 hairs per cm².
- The main prey of Pallas’ cat is mouse-like rodents, but sometimes a cat can catch a hare.
- Pallas’ cat has a special structure of the immune system, due to their isolated lifestyle from other cats. They do not tolerate many of the infections and viruses that domestic cats can live with their entire lives. Toxoplasmosis is especially terrible for them.
- Pallas’ pupils never acquire a slit-like shape, as is the case with domestic cats, but always remain round.
- The weight of the manul is the same as that of a domestic cat – from 2 to 6 kg, it seems more because of its thick fur.
- Pallas’ cats are sedentary and solitary. Each animal lives in its own defined area of up to 10 km².
- Pallas’ cats kept in captivity reproduce very poorly.
- Pallas’ cat live in crevices of rocks or burrows of other animals.
- Pallas’ offspring are brought once every year.
- Pallas cat’s coat color allows him to disguise himself so that even at a distance of two or three steps it is difficult to notice him.
- The average life span of Pallas’ cat is 11-12 years.
History of the breed
According to scientists, Pallas’s cat as a separate species appeared on the planet about 12-10 million years ago. His ancestor, as, indeed, the ancestor of all domestic cats was a dinict – a Pallas’s cat with thick long hair, a short tail and powerful paws. From the dictum, the cats were divided into large and small cats, and the manul remained in a transitional stage – he did not learn to growl like big cats, but he did not become an ordinary wild cat, retaining a round pupil, such as lions. Manul is a separate, one can say, relict type of cat.
For thousands of years the Pallas’s cat lived next to man, but was practically unknown to science, which was facilitated by the incredibly secretive lifestyle of the Pallas’s cat. Which, however, did not save him from hunters, for example, in Mongolia, this cat cat was actively exterminated for the sake of his fine coat.
For the first time, the wild Pallas’s cat was scientifically described by the German naturalist Peter Pallas, who met him on the Caspian coast. Then the predatory mammal of the feline family received the Latin name “Otocolobus manul” – from the Greek oto – ear, kolobos – ugly, which seems completely unfair – the wide round ears of the manul, located low and shifted to the back, give it additional charm.
Three species of Pallas’s cat are known in the world:
- Otocolobus manul – the most common species that lives on the territory of Russia;
- Otocolobus manul ferruginea – distributed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, its skin is redder in color with noticeable reddish stripes;
- The species otocolobus manul nigripecta is also called the “Tibetan manul”, it lives in Tibet, in Kashmir and Nepal, its fur coat is more gray in color, and in winter it becomes silver.