Do you know what a Cryptoprocta ferox, also known as the fossa, is? Most people don't. This creature is endemic to Madagascar! Endemic means that it can only be found in one place, like how these amazing posts that can only be found on this awesome website! This creature is a relative of the mongoose. It is only one of the many predators of Madagascar, but the fossa is the top predator of the island. Fossas can twist their joints almost all the way around, which enables them to be great climbers! They always climb head first. They can run 35 miles per hour! Most times when hunting, they will use teamwork to catch their favorite prey... lemurs. But really, they will eat just about anything they can get their claws on! Fossas typically weigh 15 to 26 pounds. The head and body is about 25 to 30 inches long; the tail alone is usually 22 to 28 inches... almost as long as its own body!
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is a categorization list for evaluating conservation status. There are seven categories (National Geographic):
1. LC: Least Concern: At relatively low risk of extinction.
2. NT: Near Threatened: Likely to become vulnerable in the near future.
3. VU: Vulnerable: At high risk of extinction in the wild.
4. EN: Endangered: At very high risk of extinction in the wild.
5. CR: Critically Endangered: At extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
6. EW: Extinct in the Wild: Survives only in captivity.
7. EX: Extinct: No surviving individuals in the wild or in captivity
The fossa is in the category of “vulnerable.” It is not known how many fossas are remaining. Some biologists believe that there are less than 3,000 left in the wild. This is mainly caused by deforestation. But there is another reason: people are bringing their domestic dogs to Madagascar. For some weird reason, though, the dogs are becoming nondomestic and are forming packs, as if they are wolves or something. Now they are eating a lot of the fossas' food. Therefore, they have less and less food to eat and that is making a major impact on them.
Fossas are solitary, except when mating. The mother typically gives birth annually to about 2 to 4 young. Fossas become adults after about 3 years. Can you imagine being an independent adult in just 3 years? That would be quite different, wouldn't it?
Like I mentioned earlier, their joints (on their paws) are a big help to climbing. But they also have another huge help: their tails. Did you wonder why their tails are almost the size of their body? Well, they use their tail as a balancing pole. They use it to maneuver and balance themselves, so they bounce and run swiftly through the trees without falling.
As I stated earlier, these animals are very endangered. Whether it is through a special program, giving a donation, or joining a special group, let us all find a way or two to help preserve the fossa!
“Fossa.” National Geographic. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/f/fossa/.