Photos of Adorable Manul, The Pallas's Cat in Mongolia

On collaboration with World Wildlife Day March 3, Ayan Travel team has decided to share with you the photos of adorable Pallas's cat (Otocolobus manul) known as Manul,  in its wild habitat, captured by Mongolian photographer Batzaya Choijiljav. 

Surprisingly, most of the people don’t know well about that Pallas’s cat shares their mountain habitat with its near big cousin Snow leopards. if you are a photographer, planning wildlife photo trip to Mongolia for Snow leopards, you can capture these amazing wild cats on the same trip in Mongolia. This adorable flat faced and furry wild cat is very little known comparing to other subspecies of family FelidaeMaybe you have seen these lovely wild cat's face featured in many memes and viral videos. Mongolia is the one of the few countries you can eyewitness these secretive and solitary wild cats in Central Asia. 

mongolia palla's cat

Pallas’s cat is similar in size to a domestic cat but it looks much bigger because of its stocky build and its long and thick coat, fluffy tail and flattened face.

Pallas's Cat - Quick Facts 

Kingdom -Animalia 

Name: Pallas's Cat

Mongolian name: Мануул

Scientific name: Otocolobus manul

IUCN Status:  Least Concern

Population:  Total estimated: 58,000

Location: Central Asia

Habitats: mountains, steppe grasslands  that has rocky outcrops., and semi-desert terrain. 

Diet: In Mongolia Pallas’s Cat eats a broad range of small mammals (Ochotona, Alticola, Meriones, Lasiopodomys, Cricetulus), insects, birds, reptiles, and carrion.

Body Length: 46-65 cm

Weight: 2.2-4.5 kg

Mating Season: December to March

Lifespan: 8-11.5 years


Pallas' Cat in Mongolia

Although the Manul is found throughout central Asia, its habitat is very specific and harsh environment. It lives on rocky steppes and stony outcroppings only, and rarely seen in the lowland areas. It has been found at altitudes up to 4,800m but only in areas where deep snow does not accumulate. They make their dens in caves, crevices, or burrows dug by other animals.

German naturalist Peter Pallas first described the furry wildcat in 1776. He named the kitty Felis manul.  For about its scientific name- Otocolobus manul, the word ‘manul’ comes from the Mongolian language and Otocolobus is Greek for “ugly-eared.”

palla's cat mongolia

Pallas’s cat moves slowly but purposefully, concealing itself within its environment and blending into the background.

Pallas's cats are ambush hunters and spend much of their time hunting pikas as mouse hares, murines, ground squirrels and voles are also eaten, and also small birds, grasshoppers and lizardsand other critters like gerbils, voles, hares, ground squirrels, birds, and young marmots. Pikas typically make up more than 50 percent of the cat's diet.

mongolia wild cat manuul

According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Pallas’s cat is estimated as 15,315 mature individuals. This species’ numbers are decreasing today and it is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List.

Photographing Pallas's cat in Mongolia

Palla’s cats were believed to be primarily nocturnal, but now being considered crepuscular in nature. Palla's cat is shy and very antisocial animal. Without help of experienced local guide or researcher, it is almost impossible to encounter with this rare creature in Mongolia. They have extraordinary ability to hide within their own habitat. Even their markings and coloration allow them to easily blend with their surroundings which makes uneasy to spot them without experienced Mongolian wildlife photo tour agency.

photographing palla's cat mongolia

Once we see the startling aspects of its appearance, it becomes clear that the Pallas's cat is in fact a rather handsome and adorable. 

If you specially wish to see and photograph Pallas's cats in Mongolia with their lovely kittens, it is better to plan your trip to Mongolia between May to August. Because they mate between December and March; the females typically give birth between the end of March and May. Kittens become independent by four to five months , until then they are with their mother. But hope you know the challenges of wildlife photography. You can spend a long time waiting for an animal to come into the spot and then it simply turns around, leaves and that's the end of it. However, these challenges are also part of what makes Mongolian wildlife photography so rewarding.

mongolia steppe wild cat

Finally, this rare creature is listed as a 'near-threatened' species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  One of the main reasons for its descreasing population is the hunting for their fur and organs, which are used in traditional medicines. Moreover, it's one of the least studied cats in the world. 

We wish to increase both Mongolian and global awareness about Pallas’s cats and build on knowledge of their natural history and threats. As we gain knowledge of them, we can love, save and protect them. Today is World Wildlife Day. We hope you #DoOneThing for Palla’s cat that can be either sharing this blog to those who don’t know about this rare creature or make your own efforts in its conservation.


The Future of Wildlife is in Our Hands. 


mongolia snow leopard tour with batzaya choijiljav

You may interested in Story About Snow Leopard in Mongolia’s Wild West  




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