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Common Name: Fossa

Scientific Name: Cryptoprocta ferox

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Eupleridae

Genus: Cryptoprocta

Species: C. ferox


The infamous yet very little studied Cryptoprocta ferox, aka the fossa (pronounced fah-suh or foo-sa), is a cat/dog like mammal with a reddish-brown (or sometimes black) fur color. They are around 2-4.5 feet long, with a tail equally as long. In fact, the family Viverridae, in which the fossa is in, is known for having abnormally long tails. Some of its adaptations for survival include climbing up a tree (like a cat) to get its prey. Contrary to looking like a mixture of a cat and a dog, they are more closely related to the mongoose.

The fossa lives in the tropical forests of Madagascar and sometimes they even live in the steep areas of that island. They are active at all times of the day, studies show. Its position in Madagascar is mainly eating lemurs and small animals to keep balance, mainly filling the responsibility of cats and other large animals. They are extremely violent animals which is the key role to them staying alive in their condition. They are even more aggressive during mating season.

Unfortunately, the fossa is an endangered species, mainly due to humans destroying their habitat. Strangely enough, its only predator is man. They are very secretive animals, which is probably why they are not extinct already. There are currently 2500 left in the wild. They live about 20 years. Baby fossas are atricial animals and are born blind and without teeth. They don’t leave their nest until about 4 months and are dependent on their mothers for about a year or so. Their gestation period is about 90 days.

The fossa is the largest mammal carnivore on the island of Madagascar. They eat small animals-especially lemurs. They compete with other large animals, such as snakes and crocodiles, for food on this island. Some old legends say that the fossa is so ferocious it will prey on large animals, such as cows or even humans. The classification of the fossa is very scattered. Some have classified it in Viverridae, some have classified it with the cat family, Felidae, some Eupleridae, and some Herpestidae also. Most of my sources stated that it is classified in Viverridae, so that is the classification I used. Some interesting facts I learned about the fossa is that they are not stably classified and that although they are small, they are on the top of the food chain and are the main predator for many animals.

Author: Caitlin C

Published: 02/2007



“Cryptoprocta Ferox”.Lundrigan, B. And T. Zachariah. Accessed January 23, 2007. “Fossa”. Lesley Fountain, David Childs. Accsessed February 25, 2007. “Fossa-Cryptoprocta Ferox”. Anonymous. "fossa." Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 2007. 25 Feb. 2007.


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