The fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) is a mammal native to the island of Madagascar. It is sometimes said to resemble a cross between a dog and cat. It is actually more closely related to the mongoose. It is the largest mammalian carnivore on the island.


Male fossas are 29 to 31 in (75 to 80 cm) long, plus a tail that is 27 to 35 in (70 to 90 cm) long. They weigh 13 to 22 lb (6 to 10 kg). Female fossas are 25 to 27 in (65 to 70 cm) with a similar-sized tail. They weigh 11 to 15 lb (5 to 7 kg).

The fossa is a very agile animal. It can leap from tree to tree and displays agility similar to squirrels. The fossa is extremely cat-like in appearance and behavior. It is often likened to the clouded leopard, a similar-sized felid native to Southeast Asia. It is so cat-like, that it was originally classified as a member of the family Felidae.

Behavior and habitat

Recent observations indicate the fossa may not be as nocturnal as was once thought. The rarity of these animals likely contributed to the belief that fossa is entirely nocturnal, but recent scientific study has found that they are active both during the day and at night. This depends on season and prey availability. One of the biomes hosting the fossa is the Madagascar dry deciduous forest. The best place to see fossa is in the Kirindy Forest.


Baby fossas (pups) are born blind and toothless. They are dependent on their mother for about 1 year, and do not even leave the nest until they are four months old. Fossas do not breed until they are about four years old.

Fossas have been known to live 20 years in captivity.


The fossa is a carnivore. It is a ferocious hunter that eats small to medium sized animals, from fish to birds.