Micke Grove Zoo

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Fossa

Cryptoprocta ferox

Habitat: Tropical rainforests

Range: Madagascar

Natural Diet: Lemurs, small mammals and reptiles

Status in the Wild: THREATENED

 

 

Fun Facts

  • It has been challenging for scientists to place this species in the animal evolutionary tree since they are similar to felids and canids but are also dissimilar from both taxa.

  • The fossa is highly arboreal. They have long tails that are almost as long as their bodies that help them balance on tree branches

  • They have flexible ankles and wrists that can be turned that allows this species to climb down from a tree head first

  • They are flat-footed when they walk which gives themm stability when they jump from tree branch to branch

  • They follow a unique method for breeding. The female scent marks her territory with urine when she is ready to breed. Several males visit her and she either selects one male or she mates with several males.

 

 

Conservation Threats

Conservation: The main factors responsible for their low numbers in the wild are habitat loss and fragmentation, hunting and the detrimental effects of feral carnivores.

  • The major threats are habitat loss, some agricultural practices, and logging trees for firewood.

  • Illegal hunting for food and for retaliatory reasons also has a detrimental influence on their wild numbers

 

Fossa are closely related to mongoose and weasels (Photo courtesy: Scott Findley Photography)

 

 

Distributional range

Fossas are endemic to Madagascar, the island in black to the right of Africa.