Wildlife Wednesday - Fossa

Fossa Stare Down by kellinahandbasket, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  kellinahandbasket 

The last two weeks we talked about some pretty well known animals, lions and horses. This week we're going to talk about an animal I think most of us are not very familiar with, the fossa!
Cute sleeping fossa by Tambako the Jaguar, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  Tambako the Jaguar 

Fossas only live in Madagascar.

There are less than 2500 fossas living in the wild.

Fossa by Just chaos, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Just chaos 

The fossa is the largest predatory mammal on the island of Madagascar.

About half of the fossa's diet is made up of lemurs. They also eat birds, rodents. reptiles and small livestock like such as chickens and pigs.

Fossa by Mark Dumont, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Mark Dumont 
Fossas are comfortable high up in the trees and on the ground.

Fossas have reddish-brown to dark brown fur.

Fossa by Life Lenses, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  Life Lenses 

The fossa  measures about 6 feet long from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail  and weigh about 26 pounds.

Fossas have a very long tail, usually the length of their body. Their tails help them balance as they quickly move and leap among the trees.

Fossa by Life Lenses, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  Life Lenses 

Fossas were thought to be a primitive species of cat until recently. The fossa may resemble a cat, but they are actually related to the mongoose.

The fossa has a cat like head with a dog like snout and small round ears. They also have retractable claws like a cat.

Fossa by Keith@Fibonacci, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Keith@Fibonacci 

By having the ability to retract their claws, the fossa doesn’t wear them down walking, keeping them sharp for hunting prey.

The fossa walks on the soles of its feet, like a bear.

Fossa by Mark Dumont, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Mark Dumont 

Fossas are solitary except during mating season.

Fossas tend to be nocturnal, but fossas will hunt during the day if food is scarce.

Fossa by csyork65, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  csyork65 

Fossa have a scent glad at the base of their tail that they use to mark territory. 
The fossa is endangered. Fossas require a large territory and deforestation is an extreme issue in Madagascar. Almost 90% of the island's forests have been destroyed. 
Fossas are also killed by farmers trying to protect their livestock.
Fossa by Just chaos, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Just chaos 
Fossa mother's make a den on the ground to give birth. She may use a tree hollow or an old termite mound for a den.

Fossas have 2-4 young in a litter. They are blind and toothless at birth and very dependent on their mother.

Baby fossas don’t leave their den until about 4-5 months.
Want more animal facts? Check out our other Wildlife Wednesday posts