By Khadijat Uthman
People can’t agree on what it is exactly because it looks like a cat but has some features of Viverrids. Recent genetic research suggests that it is an animal of its kind.
The name is fossa described as one of the strangest mammals in the whole world. It is called Fossa, cat-like in look yet not a member of the cat family.
Fossa is a member of the Eupleridae, closely related to the mongoose family, Herpestidae.
It is a carnivorous mammal, the largest mammalian carnivore in Madagascar and has been compared to a small cougar. The fossas are classified as a vulnerable species, with only about 2,500 in the wilderness.
The Fossa and the modern Mangoose come from the same ancestor, one which arrived on the island of Madagascar around 21 million years ago.
It has a slender body and muscular limbs and a tail nearly as long as the rest of the body. It has a mongoose-like head, relatively longer than that of a cat.
Some of them can be almost 7 feet long, from their nose to the end of their long tail. Their tails are as long as their bodies and help them stay balanced when they jump through trees.
Moreover, Fossas have short fur that can be red to dark brown.
They have cat-like eyes and sharp, retractable claws. Their faces are slightly webbed, which helps them move around in the trees.
Both males and females have short, straight fur that is relatively dense and without spots and patterns.
They also use vibrations, noise and even body odours to get to know each other, in this species, males and females have different body odours.
Fossas eat small mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and insects. They also prey on lemurs. Fossa hunt during the day, especially when they lack food, but prefer to spend the daylight hours resting in a hollow tree, cave or an abandoned termite mound.