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Photographer: Dawson

Fossa Range Map (Madagascar)
Fossa Range Map (Madagascar)

Latin Name Cryptoprocta ferox
Conservation Status Endangered
Location Madagascar
Colour Brown
Length 60 - 76 cms (23.5 - 30 inches)
Tail 55 - 70 cms (22 - 28 inches)
Weight 9.5 - 14 Kgs (21 - 31 lbs)
Life Expectancy

Up to 20 Yrs (in Captivity)

Main Characteristics

The Fossa is an unusual member of the civet family. They have a body length between 60 and 76 cms (23.5 - 30 inches), a tail length between 55 and 70 cms (22 - 28 inches) and they weigh between 9.5 and 14 kgs (21 - 31 lbs). Males are usually much larger than females.

They have a short coat which is brown in colour and they have extremely long whiskers. They are quite cat-like and they have a short muzzle, rounded ears and large eyes. They walk using the soles of their feet like bears, rather than on their toes like cats and dogs and they have retractile claws and webbed feet.

Fossa's have a lithe, muscular build and they are extremely agile. They spend a lot of time in the trees and they are excellent leapers and climbers. They usually sleep during the day and become active at night.


The Fossa inhabits the rainforests of Madagascar.
They are solitary, except during the breeding season, and have territories that are approximately 4 sq. km (1.5 sq. miles).


Fossa's are ferocious predators that mainly feed on lemurs, but they also eat fish, birds, small mammals, reptiles and domestic livestock.


Fossa's breed during September and October and after a gestation period of 3 months, 2 - 4 young are born in a tree or ground den. At birth the youngsters weigh between 80 and 100 g (2.8 - 3.5 oz), they have their eyes closed and they have no teeth.

Young Fossa's develop slowly and they are cared for by their mother in their den. It is only when they reach 16 - 25 days old that their eyes open and when they reach 3 months old they begin to eat solid food. They leave their den and weaning begins when the young Fossa's are 4 months old.

They become independent at 15 - 20 months old and they reach their full adult size and sexual maturity at 4 years of age.


The Fossa has no natural predators, they are only preyed upon by humans because of their attacks on domestic livestock.


There are no subspecies of the Fossa.

Interesting Facts

The Fossa is Madagascar's largest mammalian carnivore.

Fossa is pronounced FOO-sa.

Similar Animals

Ring-Tailed Mongoose
Brown-Tailed Mongoose
Giant-Striped Mongoose
Broad-Striped Mongoose
Narrow-Striped Mongoose
Malagasy Civet


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