The Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) is a carnivorous mammal in the Eupleridae family of euplerids and mongooses.
The Fossa looks like a cross between a large mongoose and a small cougar. It has cat-like features, but with a longer, slimmer body than a cat. Its fur is short, straight, and reddish brown, or light and dark-brown. It has large, rounded ears, brown eyes, and a short, rounded nose with whiskers.
It has semi-retractable claws – it can extend its claws but they cannot retract fully into their big paws. It has flexible ankles that enable it to climb up and down trees head-first. It can also jump from tree to tree. It has a long tail. It has scent glands.
It grows to 70-80 centimetres (28-31 inches) in length. The male is larger than the female. The tail measures 65-70 centimetres (26-28 inches) long.
It is native to Madagascar. It prefers forested areas, particularly rainforests or deciduous forests.
The Fossa hunts day and night – this is called cathemeral. It eats lemurs, rodents (such as rats and mice), birds, and other animals.
It is generally solitary.
The female is pregnant for about 90 days. She has 1-6 young, called pups, in a concealed location, such as a den or rock crevice. The pups are born altricial, which means that they are blind, hairless, toothless, and helpless. They stay with their mother, and become independent after one year. The pups are grey or nearly white, and gradually gain their brown colour.
The average lifespan of the Fossa is 20 or more years.
Location of photographs: Parc Zoologique de Paris in Bois de Vincennes, France
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM