When you first see a Fossa, you might think it’s a member of the cat family. However, it’s actually related to the mongoose!1 They’re about 23-30 inches long, with an extra 22-28 inches added for their tails, and they can weigh somewhere between 15 and 26 pounds.2

They have short brown fur, and retractable claws.1&2 They are native to Madagascar and are actually the largest carnivore on the island.3 These animals prey on fish, birds, and mice. However, their favorite prey is lemurs.1

Fossas are very agile, and they can climb trees easily.3 Their tails often help them balance as they climb and maneuver along branches.1 Fossas tend to be solitary and elusive except during mating season.2 They’ll breed in the fall and winter, and while Fossas don’t tend to make a lot of noise, they will vocalize during breeding season. Females will dig out a den to give birth and will raise offspring on their own.1

Overall, Fossas are considered to be vulnerable. A lot of this is due to habitat loss. About 90% of Madagascar’s native forests are gone, leaving Fossas and their prey with little habitat left.1&2 They also face threats from introduced diseases, like rabies.1