FishingCat - Prionailurus viverrinus
The Fishing Cat has unique physical features
well adapted for surviving in a wetland environment. They are powerful
swimmers with a double
layer of fur and webbed rear feet and partially webbed front feet
with exceptionally long toes & claws which they use like fishing
hooks to snag a meal much like the American
River Otter. Fishing
Cats are difficult to observe in the wild but have been seen hanging
over rivers and streams hovering on tree branches or rock formations
ready and waiting to take a fish as "catch of the day".
They are excellent divers and even hunt with their head completely
The Fishing Cat, although much smaller, has something
in common with the great Tigers - they LOVE WATER!! You
can see the Tiger's love for water first-hand in our Educational
DVD - PowerCats Locked & Loaded. This medium sized
cat is found living near marsh thickets and mangrove swamps
throughout Indochina and Java. The Fishing Cat is an aquatic
feeder very much at home under cover of the dense vegetation
areas of the rivers and streams throughout its territory.
Our Fishing Cat felines could be an Olympic Gold Medal
winner in Freestyle Competition - their claim to fame is
that they are the best swimmers of all cats!
ANIMAL WEB CAMS
Fishing Cats claws resemble those of the
Cheetah, as neither cat's claws have full sheaths so they are
partially visible even when retracted. The elongated claws
help them hold onto slippery aquatic prey like fish, frogs,
toads, snails and crustaceans. Fishing Cats usually hunt by
the light of day and also make small birds, mammals, snakes
and domestic livestock part of their diet when available. Native
to Southeast Asia ranging through Indochina, India, Pakistan,
Sri Lanka, Sumatra and Java they blend into the wetland rainforest
habitat with a coat of olive brown color and rows of parallel
spots that sometimes merge to form stripes. Face markings are
distinguished - two pure white longitudinal stripes extending
across the forehead running to the inner corner of their eyes.
Fishing Cats are stout bodied, with a broad head and a short
tail ringed in black and ending in a black tip.
First described by scientists in 1833,
this cat was given the species name "viverrina" because its slim line
body contour with spot and striped pattern was so similar to
that of the civet which occupies the same territory. Unfortunately,
their wetland territory is disappearing at an alarming rate
with over 50% destruction of their Asian range under threat
of human encroachment and development. Both animals share the
dismal fate of being considered "food items" throughout
much of their range and pelts taken by poachers are found in
Asian markets. They are also trapped or eliminated for taking
domestic livestock which also places them in danger. Although
considered somewhat common throughout their range from India
to Southeast Asia, factual field studies are lacking.
The Fishing Cat was only recently added to the SSP
Species Survival Plan Program in an effort to coordinate captive breeding
efforts to preserve this endangered species. Protection is
offered to the Fishing Cat over most of its range with the
exception of Bhutan, Malaysia and Vietnam and they are protected
from trade being placed on CITES Appendix II and listed by
- World Conservation Union as and Lower Risk/Near Threatened.
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Scientific Name: Prionailurus viverrinus
Common Name(s): Fishing Cat
Range: Southwest Asia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sumatra and
Average Weight: 6 - 12 kg (13 - 26 lbs)
Length: 38 - 40 cm (15 - 16")
Diet: Carnivorous. Fish! Frogs, toads, crustaceans, snails, small
birds, reptiles, snakes and domestic livestock.
Gestation Period: 65 - 72 Days
Cub Maturity: 6 - 8 Months
Cubs Per Litter: 1 - 4 Kittens. (2-3 Kittens average per litter)
Lifespan: 10 - 12 years. Recorded to have lived up to 12 years
Predators: Man. Largest single threat is significant loss of
Social Structure: Solitary. Polyestrous year round. Wild males
known to help rear young.
Territory Size: 34 - 51 km (20-30 miles)
Conservation Status: CITES Appendix II. IUCN listed as Lower
Risk/Near Threatened. SSP Captive Breeding Program.