Friday, April 22, 2011

Fossa

Fossas are the largest carnivores on the island of Madagascar. While they kind of resemble cats, they are actually more closely related to mongooses... even though they have retractable cat-like claws. This strange creature owes its uniqueness to millions of years of evolution on a single island habitat. Remember that Madagascar is also the exclusive home of the world's Lemurs, and was also the stomping ground of the 10ft (3m) tall Elephant Bird!
Cryptoprocta ferox

Fossas are solitary animals that live on both the ground and in trees. Their long, heavy tails helps them to balance while climbing and moving about. Until recently it was believed that they were exclusively nocturnal, but scientists have now discovered that they are active at either time of day, depending on mood and situation.

As previously mentioned, the Fossa is a carnivore, and it feeds off basically anything that it can get its claws on. This includes mice, birds, lizards, and even lemurs! In fact, the Fossa is the only native carnivore able to kill the largest lemur species.

Fossas are a vulnerable, due in part to habitat loss, introduced canine and feline diseases (that they are susceptible to) and hunting. Farmers aren't huge fans of them, because they sometimes kill livestock like pigs and poultry. The species is now becoming fragmented and rare in local populations, which puts it in danger of extinction.

IUCN Status :  Vulnerable
Location : Madagascar
Size : Body length up to 31cm (80cm), Weight 20lbs (9kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Eupleridae -- Genus : Cryptoprocta  -- Species : C. ferox

1 comment:

  1. Another interesting animal. I was surprised to see that they weigh 20 pounds. They don't give the impression of being that solid.

    ReplyDelete

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