What kind of animal is a Fossa?
The fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) is the largest carnivorous mammal on the island of Madagascar. They can reach nearly six feet in length, with half of that due to their long tails.
They look like a cross between a cat, a dog, and a mongoose. Fossas have slender bodies, muscular limbs, and short, reddish-brown coats. They have small, cat-like heads, short, dog-like muzzles, and large, rounded ears.
Their classification has been complicated. The fossa has features in common with three different families of carnivores: Herpestidae (mongooses), Viverridae (civets and their relatives), and Felidae (cats).
It is found solely in the Madagascan forested habitat, and actively hunts both by day and night. Over 50% of its diet consists of lemurs, the endemic primates found on the island; tenrecs, rodents, lizards, birds, and other animals are also documented as prey.
Litters range from one to six pups, which are born blind and toothless (altricial). Infants wean after 4.5 months and are independent after a year. Life expectancy in captivity is 20 years.
The fossa is listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It is generally feared by the Malagasy people and is often protected by their fady (taboo). The greatest threat to the species is habitat destruction.