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Madagascar's Fascinating Fosa!

April 02, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 152

There are plenty of creatures to see on your Madagascar wildlife holiday - but among the most interesting is the Fossa. This unique creature is cat-like, carnivorous, and completely unique to Madagascar, making it a fascinating sight to observe while you're exploring the island. The scientific classification of this animal has been somewhat controversial - despite appearing very similar to cats, the Fosa's other traits suggest a heritage more closely shared with the mongoose family. The largest mammalian carnivore on the island, the Fossa's population is widespread, and can be seen in many of the island's forested regions. To learn a little more about this curious creature, read on!


The Fosa is active both during the day and night, increasing your chances of spotting one of these predators no matter what kind of tour you undertake on your Madagascar wildlife holidays. The species is considered a solitary one; animals are often found alone, with the territories of males and females remaining separate for the most part. The animal's population density is also quite low across Madagascar - for example, in Kirindy Forest where the Fosa is thought to be common, it's estimated that there's one Fossa for every four square kilometres of terrain, illustrating the point.

Diet and Feeding

As the largest predator you're likely to see on your Madagascar wildlife holiday, the Fosa is nevertheless very picky about its food! It's the only predator on Madagascar capable of preying on the island's indigenous lemur. Lemurs comprise about 50% of the animal's diet. The Fosa often hunts for its food individually, although, during the animal's mating season, larger hunting parties might be spotted as they seek to impress a potential partner! The Fossa has also been known to choose more domestic prey when the opportunity arises, such as goats and chickens. Predatory Fosa who have targeted smaller domestic animals are in part responsible for the species' feared reputation on the island.

Arboreal Activities

One characteristic of the Fosa that often impresses people on their Madagascar wildlife holidays is its penchant for trees. With flexible ankles and semi-retractable claws, it is able to climb up and down trees head-first and launch itself from branch to branch and tree to tree safely. These assets also come in useful while hunting food - they have been observed chasing Lemurs from tree to tree, trying to force them down to the ground where the swift Fosa will be able to catch them easily.

Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer. If you're looking for a Madagascar wildlife holiday, Naturetrek specialise in expert-led natural history and wildlife tours worldwide. Naturetrek bring over 25 years of experience to a Madagascar wildlife holiday and other spectacular regions on Earth.

Source: EzineArticles
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