- The Fossa constitutes a unique animal. Individuals actually combine many of the physical traits of civets, felines, and mongooses
- Rather surprisingly, its scientific name means hidden anus (from Greek).
- Cryptoprocta ferox lives only on the island of Madagascar. It remains secretive by nature and has not been widely studied.
- The IUCN lists the animal as Vulnerable due to the combination of its highly restricted zone of habitation and, unfortunately, the ongoing devastation of its native habitat.
Fossa Physical Description
The Fossa is so unique that it actually has flexible ankles. Along with its partially retractable claws, this enables the creature to climb headfirst down trees.
The mammal attains an average body length of about 31 in (80 cm), and a weight of about 19 lb (8.6 kg). The tail sometimes grows nearly as long as the body.
The Fossa does display sexual dimorphism, with the males being larger than the females.
Its coloring predominantly includes light to dark brown on the back and sides, and a creamy white on the underbelly. The head develops tapered, and the ears grow relatively large.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Eupleridae
- Genus: Cryptoprocta
- Species: C. ferox
Fossa Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Amazing Fossa remains especially adapted to forest environments, so lives only in remaining forest regions on Madagascar. It prefers either deciduous forests or areas of tropical rainforest.
The animal evolved as carnivorous in nature, and generally cathermal in its habits, hunting by both day and night.
Rather surprisingly, it ranks as the top predator in Madagascar and its diet consists largely of lemurs. Individuals will, however, take other prey opportunistically.
The Fossa primarily lives as a typically a solitary creature, except when rearing young.
It communicates with other fossas primarily through scent glands, but also makes different sounds like meowing, yowling, and sighing.
The female experiences a unique transformation during puberty: she becomes temporarily masculine, a trait popular as transient masculinization. The features are then reversed.
Its lifespan in the wild remains unknown though captive individuals live as much as 20 years.