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Named after 18th-century German biologist Peter Simon Pallas, who first described the species in 1776, this wild cat is also known as the manul, steppe cat, or rock wild cat. The latter name refers to his preference for rocky areas with cover, which help him blend into his surroundings. He is found in Central Asia, from the Caspian Sea through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northern India to central China, Mongolia, and southern Russia.
The Pallas cat has a round head, flat face, short, rounded ears, and large yellow eyes. Unlike most cats, whose pupils contract into vertical slits, his form small circles.
Beneath the Pal- las cat’s thick soft fur is a dark, wool- ly undercoat twice as long as the fur on the rest of the body. It makes him heavily hunted for his pelt.
Both sexes are solitary but mate between December and March. The mating call is said to resem- ble a cross between the bark of a small dog and the hoot of an owl.
About the author: Kim Campbell Thornton is an award-winning writer in Southern California. Her subjects include pet care, health and behavior, and wildlife and marine life conservation.