Cryptoprocta ferox

Quick Facts

Found:  Madagascar
Size:  2 1/2 - 3 feet with tail
Weight:  12 to 20 pounds
Diet:  Main prey is lemurs
Life Span:  20 years
Status:  Endangered

Pronounced fu-sa, at first glance it may look like some kind of cat, monkey, or weasel. It has paws with claws like a cat, a long tail like a monkey, and round little ears like a weasel, so it's easy to be confused.  Although it shares some adaptations with cats, the fossa is closely related to the mongoose and civet.  That extra-long tail helps the fossa balance and jump from branch to branch. Retractable claws like those of a cat help it climb down a tree headfirst.  Although it spends a lot of time in trees, the fossa is just as comfortable running flatfooted like a bear along the ground.  It is the largest native predator on the island of Madagascar and although they feed on a variety of prey, lemurs make up their main diet.  The fossa’s scientific name comes from the Greek crypto, which means “hidden,” and ferox, which means “brave” or “fierce.”

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