Carnivores in Madagascar

Madagascar's carnivores are viverrids, a group of mammals that includes the mongoose. Seven of the eight species of carnivore found on Madagascar are endemic to the island (one, the small Indian Civet -- Viverricula indica , was introduced). The best known of these is the fossa (pronounced "foo sa") which looks like a cross between a puma and a dog. Fossas hunt almost any animal including insects, reptiles, rodents and lemurs. They also prey on chickens in and around Malagasy villages and are hunted by local people as vermin.

Fossa are active both in trees and on the ground and are excellent climbers using their long tail for balance and retractable claws for climbing straight up and down tree trunks.

  • Fossa were first classified as cats but later taxonomists realized that they are closely related to the mongoose.
  • An adult fossa may weight 22-to-26-pounds.
  • Fossa are found in deciduous to moist forest habitats throughout Madagascar but are somewhat rare.
  • The fossa is Madagascar's largest predator.