Saturday, June 19, 2010

Camera Critters

Camera Critters is hosted each Saturday by the lovely Misty. Be sure you visit to see more critters!

I'd like to introduce you to one of my favorite critters - the fossa.
This male and female live in the small cat area of the Houston Zoo.
The photos were taken at during a special event at the zoo. The keepers gave each of the small cats a treat while they talked and answered questions about them.

First the photos and then information about the Fossa.

Fossa Female

Here's the female working on getting to her treat.

Fossa male

This is the male Fossa.


The female Fossa taking a short rest!

A relative of the mongoose, the fossa is unique to the forests of Madagascar, an African island in the Indian Ocean. Growing up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) long from nose to tail tip, and weighing up to 26 pounds (12 kilograms), the fossa is a slender-bodied catlike creature with little resemblance to its mongoose cousins.

It is the largest carnivore and top predator native to Madagascar and is known to feed on lemurs and most other creatures it can get its claws on, from wild pigs to mice. Unlike mongooses, and more like felines, the fossa has retractable claws and fearsome catlike teeth. Its coat is reddish brown and its muzzle resembles that of a dog.

The fossa is also equipped with a long tail that comes in handy while hunting and maneuvering amongst the tree branches. It can wield its tail like a tightrope walker's pole and moves so swiftly through the trees that scientists have had trouble observing and researching it.

The elusive fossa is a solitary animal and spends its time both in the trees and on the ground. It is active at night and also during the day. Females give birth to an annual litter of two to four young, and adulthood is reached after about three years.

Madagascar is home to an enormous variety of plant and animal life, and a number of species are unique to the island—including over 30 species of lemur, the fossa’s prey of choice. Explorers first arrived on the island some 2,000 years ago, and scientists believe that they would have been met by a bizarre assemblage of now-extinct beasts, including lemurs the size of gorillas and a ten-foot-tall (three-meter-tall) flightless bird.

Presently, fossas are endangered creatures due to habitat loss. Less than ten percent of Madagascar’s original, intact forest cover, the fossa’s only home, remains today.

(Text information from the National Geographic.)


Katie said...

I've never heard of a fossa before! What fascinating critters! Great photos! Now I'm off to pour over the rest of your posts!

Cezar and Léia said...

wow I didn't know this different critter, it's the first time that I see them, thanks so much for this post, for sharing your pictures, it's very interesting!
Happy Sunday dear friend,
purrs and love
Luna - We love Luna

Denise said...

What a lovely little animal. I have never heard of a Fossa before. Very enjoyable and interesting post, thank you.

If you have the time to stop by, my post is right here,

Have a great weekend.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I learned something new today about cats -- thanks!

Indrani said...

Fossa - They are new to me. Great post on this and great pics too.

Carletta said...

I see the resemblance to a cat in the resting female. Her body language is just like a cat; but then you look at her little puppy face.
Wonderful post!

(Carletta's Captures)

Crafty Christina said...

I'd never heard of a Fossa before.

Captain Shagrat said...

Well they say you live and learn and like Denise I have never seen this critter before. Unusual animal and interesting post

Tink *~*~* said...

I have a fosa from the Naples Zoo (Florida, not Italy!) scheduled for a few weeks from now. I think they look almost like anime cartoon characters with their huge eyes!

Tink *~*~*

Pretty Things said...

How cool! I've never heard of one before! Thanks for the post!

dosfishes said...

Well I learned something new today, thanks Snap.
This critter is so cute! xox Corrine

Pat - Arkansas said...

I've never before seen, nor even heard, of Fossas before this post. Intriguing creatures. Thanks for the photos and info.

Poetic Shutterbug said...

I've not heard of the fossa before so your info is very much appreciated. It is very sleek looking and great shots.

lisaschaos said...

They're very interesting, I had never heard of them before. Very cool!