Animals / Mammal Facts / Fossa - Madagascar's Top Predator

Fossa - Madagascar's Top Predator


close up head

 

The fossa is a creature which is closely related to the mongoose and is found only in the forests of the African island of Madagascar. They can grow up to 6 feet (1.8 m) long and can weigh up to 26 pounds (12 kg). It has a very slender, almost cat-like body which makes people very surprised to learn that it is actually related to the mongoose and civets but not the cat.

 

 

fossa mother kitten

 

On the island of Madagascar, the fossa is the largest carnivore and in fact the top predator on the whole island. As top predator it practically eats everything from lemurs to wild pigs to birds. Unlike its mongoose relative, this species has many features that make it seem like a cat such as retractable claws and catlike sharp teeth. It has a brown-red coat and its muzzle is similar to that of a dog.

 

large long body

 

The fossa has an extremely long and useful tail which is of great use while hunting and jumping through the trees. It can use its tail like a tightrope pole so it can balance when moving swiftly through the trees. As it moves so quickly, animal scientists have had difficulties properly observing and learning its behavioral traits.

 

climbing on branch

 

This solitary creature spends the majority of its time in the trees and the remainder on the ground. It can be seen to be active both at night and during the day so is neither diurnal nor nocturnal. Females give birth annually and the litter usually consists of two to four young. The young reach maturity around three years old. The young are born in a concealed underground den usually and are always born in December or January. They are born completely helpless with no sight or teeth and after two weeks their eyes begin to open and their thin fur begin to thicken.

 

fossa in the grass

 

The fossa is described as a vulnerable species as its numbers are being seriously affected by deforestation across Madagascar. As they can only live in this environment if the deforestation continues it is likely this species will become extinct and this is obviously a great shame.

 

long body

 

 

 

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