Friday, October 7, 2011

Fishing Cat

Prionailurus viverrinus
On the outside the Fishing Cat may just look like a gigantic (up to 35lbs!) House Cat, but they are in fact very, very wild. These nocturnal felines are native to South and Southeast Asia and live in habitats that are close to water, blowing away the stereotype that all cats dread being wet.

Fishing Cats didn't get their name for nothing. They are excellent swimmers and primarily eat aquatic creatures, like amphibians, fish, and ducks. In order to snatch their water-dwelling meals, they stand in the shallows and scoop passing critters with their paws. They are also able to dive after prey as well!

In the wild, young Fishing Cats learn to hunt from their mothers, who they remain with until about 10 months of age. Interestingly, male Fishing Cats have helped to raise young in captivity.

Unfortunately, loss of habitat due to pollution and clearing has led Fishing Cat populations to decline, and they are now considered Endangered by the IUCN. They are also hunted in many places for their fur, and for ingredients in traditional medicines.

IUCN Status : Endangered
Location : South Asia
Size : Body length up to 31in (80cm), Weight up to 35lbs (16kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Felidae -- Genus : Prionailurus -- Species : P. viverrinus

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