Endemic to Madagascar and its apex predator

Nathan Rupert

The fossa is Madagascar’s largest carnivore. Its convergent evolution of cat-like traits has led to comparisons to a small cougar.
Given its wide range, the population of this species is often small. It only lives in deciduous forests and hunts at all times of the day and night.

Males are larger than females, measuring around 76cm (30 inches) in length and weighing around 7kg (30 pounds). It can climb and leap from tree to tree head-first because of its partly retracting claws and powerful ankles. Mating occurs on horizontal tree branches and may take many hours. In litters of one to six puppies, they are born toothless and blind. After 4.5 months, infants wean and are self-sufficient after a year. In captivity, sexual maturity begins between three and four years, and the expected lifespan is 20.


Population est.
Official estimate

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No