Fishing cats are attracted to all types of water and live in wetlands, their most common stomping ground, with marshes, swamps, and mangroves also high on the list of suitable habitat. They are sometimes found in tropical dry forests and have even been seen in the Indian Himalayas, at elevations of 4,900 feet (1,500 meters) in dense vegetation near rivers and streams.
Fishing cats mainly eat fish but also dine on other prey found in the water, including crabs, crayfish, and frogs. The cats have also been seen eating snakes, rodents, young deer, and wild pigs and ducks.
Farmers’ chickens, dogs, goats, and calves are fair game for the fishing cat, as are leftovers from someone else’s meal, including morsels tigers leave behind after they’ve eaten their fill. At the San Diego Zoo, the fishing cats are offered, on various days of the week, thawed trout and smelt, mice, cat kibble, a cow knuckle bone, and a fortified meat-based commercial carnivore diet.
Like many smaller felines, fishing cats communicate with hisses, guttural growls, and even a low, demanding meow. A single fishing cat came to the San Diego Zoo in 1961 from Bangkok, but it passed away the same year.
In 1986, we received a pair as part of a breeding loan from the Royal Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands. They took to the water like pros and jumped in after the fish, darting after the quick movements, but they weren’t sure how to catch them.
It has been estimated that about 50 percent of Southeast Asia wetlands are disappearing as the human population grows. Choosing to purchase products that support better use of the land is a great way to help fishing cats and other species that live in wetland habitats.
Reducing pollution and using eco-friendly fishing and agricultural ideas may ensure that fishing cats always have their favorite place to call home, right on the banks of a wetland area. You can help us bring fishing cats and other felines back from the brink by supporting the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy.
Fishing cat Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1) Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalian Order: Carnivora Suborder: California Family: Felipe Subfamily: Feline Genus: Prionailurus Species: Binomial name Prionailurus viverrinus Distribution of the fishing cat as of 2016 The fishing cat has a deep yellowish-grey fur with black lines and spots.
Two stripes are on the cheeks, and two above the eyes running to the neck with broken lines on the forehead. The spots on the shoulder are longitudinal, and those on the sides, limbs and tail are roundish.
The background color of its fur varies between individuals from yellowish tawny to ashy gray, and the size of the stripes from narrow to broad. The fur on the belly is lighter than on the back and sides.
The short and rounded ears are set low on the head, and the back of the ears bear a white spot. The tail is short, less than half the length of head and body, and with a few black rings at the end.
A short, dense layer provides a water barrier and thermal insulation, while another layer of protruding long guard hairs provides its pattern and glossy sheen. It is about twice the size of a domestic cat and stocky and muscular with medium to short legs.
Its paws are less completely webbed than those of the leopard cat, and the claws are incompletely sheathed so that they protrude slightly when retracted. Webbed feet have often been noted as a characteristic of the fishing cat, but the webbing beneath the toes is not much more developed than that of a bobcat.
A fishing cat in the Hungarians Fishing cat photographed in Nepalese fishing cat is broadly but discontinuously distributed in South and Southeast Asia. It is strongly associated with wetlands, inhabiting swamps and marshy areas around oxbow lakes, reed beds, tidal creeks and mangrove forests ; it seems less abundant around smaller, fast-moving watercourses.
Reports in Bangladeshi newspapers indicate that fishing cats live in all divisions of Bangladesh but are severely threatened; villagers killed at least 30 fishing cats between January 2010 and March 2013. In Sri Lanka, it has been recorded in multiple localities ranging from coastal to hilly regions.
The island of Java constitutes the southern limit of the fishing cat's range, but by the 1990s fishing cats were scarce and apparently restricted to tidal forests with sandy or muddy shores, older mangrove stands, and abandoned mangrove plantation areas with fishponds. There are no confirmed records from Peninsular Malaysia, Vietnam and Laos.
A fishing cat in the Goddard mangroves at nighttime fishing cat is thought to be primarily nocturnal, and is very much at home near water. Adult males and females without dependent young are solitary.
Females have been reported to range over areas of 4 to 6 km 2 (1.5 to 2.3 sq mi), while males range over 16 to 22 km 2 (6.2 to 8.5 sq mi). Adults have been observed to make a “chuckling” sound.
They also sharpen their claws and display freshmen behavior. Wild fishing cats most likely mate during January and February; most kittens in the wild were observed in March and April.
In captivity, the gestation period lasts 63–70 days; females give birth to two or three kittens. They weigh around 170 g (6.0 oz) at birth, and are able to actively move around by the age of one month.
The fishing cat is threatened by destruction of wetlands, which are increasingly being polluted and converted for agricultural use and human settlements. The conversion of mangrove forests to commercial aquaculture ponds is a major threat in Andhra Pradesh, where the targeted killing of fishing cats is also prevalent where there is human/animal conflict.
Over-exploitation of local fish stocks and retaliatory killing are also significant threats. In West Bengal's Howrah district, 27 dead fishing cats were recorded between April 2010 and May 2011.
The fishing cat is possibly extinct in coastal Kerala, India. Prionailurus viverrinus is included on CITES Appendix II, and protected by national legislation over most of its range.
Hunting is prohibited in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand. Hunting regulations apply in Lao Dr.
Its survival depends on protection of wetlands, prevention of indiscriminate trapping, snaring and poisoning. In areas where habitat degradation is a major concern, such as coastal Andhra Pradesh, NGOs are working to slow habitat conversion in collaboration with local villagers.
Part of this work involves creating alternative livelihood programs that allow villagers to earn money without damaging natural habitats. Fishing cat in Essay Zoo In Assamese, the fishing cat is known as Mesa (Assamese : ), probably derived from mas (Assamese : ) meaning “fish”.
In Telugu, it is called “Nauru pill” meaning “wild cat”. In Inhale, the fishing cat is known as “handgun Divya”.
^ a b c d e f g h i Mukherjee, S.; Appeal, A.; Duckworth, J. W.; Sanderson, J.; Dahl, S.; Wilcox, D. H. A.; Herman Muñoz, V.; Malley, G.; Ramayana, A.; Kantimahanti, M.; Thudugala, A.; Than, R. & Rahman, H. (2016). “ IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
CS1 main: multiple names: authors list (link) ^ a b c Powell, K. & Jackson, P. (1996). “ Fishing Cat, Prionailurus viverrinus (Bennett, 1833)”.
“Notice SUR la classification multivariate DES Carnivores, spécialement DES Felines, ET LES études DE zoologist general quit s'y attachment”. Revue ET Again de Zoologie Pure ET Applique.
“Seventeen generic, specific and subspecific names for Dutch East Indian mammals”. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift poor Nederland Indie.
^ a b c d e Johnson, W. E.; Erik, E.; Pecon-Slattery, J.; Murphy, W. J.; Attunes, A.; Feeling, E. & O'Brien, S. J. “The Late Miocene radiation of modern Felipe: A genetic assessment”.
“Phylogeny and evolution of cats (Felipe)”. “Phylogenetic evidence for ancient hybridization in the genomes of living cats (Felipe)”.
Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. “A survey of Smooth-coated Otter (Surrogate perspicillata India) and Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) in Choir Reservoir, Shanghai, Pakistan using camera traps”.
Fishing Cat camera trapped in Babies Valley of Bardic National Park, Nepal”. Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus Bennett, 1833 (Carnivora: Felipe) distribution and habitat characteristics in Chit wan National Park, Nepal”.
^ Model, S.; Lamichhane, B. R.; Bhatpara, S.; Adhara, D.; Poker, C.; Bhatia, T.; Girl, S.; Lamichhane, S.; Shaula, A.; During, A.; Royal, L.; Reg mi, U. “First photographic evidence of Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus Bennett, 1833 and Clouded Leopard Neophilia nebula Griffith, 1821 (Carnivora: Felipe) in Pars National Park, Nepal”.
“The conservation status of the Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus Bennett, 1833 (Carnivora: Felipe) in Joshi Happy Wildlife Reserve, Nepal”. “First evidence of Fishing Cat in the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India”.
^ Arena, S.; Raj, B.; Sharma, V.; Seaman, G. & Satayanarayan, K. (2016). “First record of Fishing Cat in SUR Samovar Bird Sanctuary, Agra, India”.
^ Mukherjee, S.; Madhya, T.; That, P. & Ramakrishna, U. “Survey of the Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus Bennett, 1833 (Carnivora: Felipe) and some aspects impacting its conservation in India”.
“First estimates of fishing cat abundance and density in Latvian Is, Hungarians, India”. “The Vulnerable Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus in Odisha, eastern India: status and conservation implications”.
“Ecology and conservation of Fishing Cat in Goddard mangroves of Andhra Pradesh” (PDF). Proceedings of the First International Fishing Cat Conservation Symposium, 25–29 November 2015, Nepal.
Bad Hardenberg, Germany and Salt ford, Bristol, United Kingdom: Fishing Cat Working Group. Status of Fishing Cat and Indian Smooth-coated Otter in Coring Wildlife Sanctuary (PDF).
“Community-based Fishing Cat conservation in the Eastern Ghats of South India” (PDF). Proceedings of the First International Fishing Cat Conservation Symposium, 25–29 November 2015, Nepal.
Bad Hardenberg, Germany and Salt ford, Bristol, United Kingdom: Fishing Cat Working Group. “Recent photographic records of Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus (Bennett, 1833) (Carnivora: Felipe) in the Ayeyarwady Delta of Myanmar”.
“Recent sightings of fishing cats in Thailand”. ^ Lunar, A. J.; Junks, K. E.; Tantipisanuh, N.; Caution, W.; Ngoprasert, D. & Gale, G. A.
“Terrestrial activity patterns of wild cats from camera-trapping” (PDF). ^ Caution, W.; Naming, A.; Klinsawat, W.; Ngoprasert, D.; Houri, K.; Mutual, N.; Ongoing, P. & Tantipisanuh, N. (2019).
“An update on the status of Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus Bennett, 1833 (Carnivora: Felipe) in Thailand”. “A fishing cat observation from northern Cambodia” (PDF).
“Confirmation of the endangered fishing cat in Botum-Sakor National Park, Cambodia” (PDF). “Identifying priority sites and conservation actions for Fishing Cat in Cambodia” (PDF).
Proceedings of the First International Fishing Cat Conservation Symposium, 25–29 November 2015, Nepal. Bad Hardenberg, Germany and Salt ford, Bristol, United Kingdom: Fishing Cat Working Group.
“Distribution and status of the Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus rhizospheres Body, 1936) in West Java, Indonesia (Mammalian: Carnivora: Felipe)” (PDF). Faunistische Abhandlungen, Staatliches Museum fur Thereunder Dresden.
Ecological separation of four symmetric carnivores in Reloaded Ghana National Park, Bhagalpur, Rajasthan, India (M.Sc. Debra Dun: Wildlife Institute of India.
“Food habits of the fishing cat Felix diverging in Reloaded National Park, Bhagalpur, Rajasthan”. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society.
“A Comparative Analysis of Scent-Marking, Social and Reproductive Behavior in 20 Species of Small Cats (Felix)”. “On the occurrence of the Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus Bennett, 1833 (Carnivora: Felipe) in coastal Kerala, India”.
Felix diverging Natural History of the Mammalian of India and Ceylon. Prionailurus Everton, 1858 The Fauna of Sri Lanka: Status of Taxonomy, Research, and Conservation.
Common Name: Fishing Cat Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata) Class: Mammalian Order: Carnivora Family: Felipe Genus: Feline (Prionailurus) Species: viverrinus Its coat is olive gray and is patterned with rows of parallel solid black spots, which often form stripes along the spine.
Their ears are short and round with black backs, and prominent white spots in the middle. Today, it is found that the webbing beneath the toes isn’t much more developed than that of a Bobcat.
Habitat: Found in a variety of watery habitats including mangrove swamps, marshy thickets, tidal creeks, oxbow lakes, and reed beds up to an elevation of 5000 feet. Reproduction and Offspring: After a gestation of 63 days, females produce a litter of 1-4 kittens, with the average being 2.
They are believed to be solitary, but there have been some unconfirmed reports that the males may help with the care and supervision of the young. They will also prey on terrestrial mammals such as rodents, civets, young coital fawns, wild pigs, and even domestic animals such as goats, dogs, calves and poultry.
A survey showed that more than 50% of Asian wetlands are faced with moderate to high degrees of threat and disappearing. These threats include settlement, draining for agriculture, pollution, and excessive hunting, woodcutting and fishing.
Download this 2008 report documenting 1,158 endangered and threatened exotic cats being illegally, yet openly sold in Myanmar markets. Felix TAG 2000 recommendation: Fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus).
We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our websites and social media. Physical Description fishing cat's coat is a camouflaged gray-brown with distinctive black spots and stripes.
Six to eight black lines run from the cat's forehead to its neck, breaking up into shorter bars and spots on its shoulders. Their front toes are partially webbed and their claws protrude slightly even when retracted.
A compact, dense layer of fur right against the cat’s skin is composed of tightly packed strands of hair, which prevents water from reaching the cat’s skin, keeping it warm in chilly waters. Long guard hairs protrude from this coat, giving the fishing cat its unique pattern.
Native Habitat fishing cat's natural range is unknown, but it is currently found across South and Southeast Asia. The western reaches of its range extend into Pakistan, cutting east to Cambodia.
The northern part of its range extends to the Himalayan foothills, which runs south to Sri Lanka and Thailand. But camera traps have confirmed their presence in some parts of their range, including some protected areas in India, along the coast of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam.
Separate reports place fishing cats in the north coast of Java, but biologists have not seen the species there since, and the population known to live in Jung Upon National Park died from poisoning in 2006. Fishing cats are generally found in wetland areas, such as marshes, swamps and mangrove forests.
The Smithsonian's National Zoo’s fishing cats eat prepared meat and feline dry diets, a variety of small fish (including smelt, captain and herring), whole prey items (including rabbits and rats) and beef knuckle bones. Live goldfish are provided daily for enrichment in their indoor and outdoor pools.
Here and elsewhere in human care, fishing cats have been observed dropping their food in the water, retrieving it and then eating it. In human care, females exposed to natural daylight are reproductively active throughout the year and tend to cycle monthly.
Some experience a pseudo pregnancy period, where their hormones mimic a pregnancy, and they do not cycle for about two months. Spontaneous ovulation in the females occurs about 57 percent of the time, making artificial insemination difficult.
In much of their geographic range, humans carve a life out of the land in underdeveloped areas, including foothills, coastal forests, swamps and intertidal marshes. Increased pressure results in the expansion of human settlements into sparse areas, such as wetlands.
Additionally, deforestation for logging operations reduces the land’s capacity to recharge its water supply and maintain soil health. Without trees and natural vegetation, silt can accumulate too quickly and erode waterways.
Silt, along with human products like effluent, trash and chemical pollution and agricultural runoff, washes downstream and settles in bodies of still water, which alters the landscape by filling in marshes and wetlands. Excessive runoff pollutes water sources and kills or contaminates fish, a prey item for fishing cats.
This is because the cats play such a significant role in controlling a complex food chain (called a “tropic cascade”) that is contingent on access to water. These cats are legally protected in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao Dr, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
Avoid animal-skin products, even those marked “faux,” to ensure you’re not contributing to the illegal hunting of this species. Avoid buying products made from animals, which could support poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.
Support organizations like the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute that research better ways to protect and care for this animal and other endangered species. Anglers catch hundreds of brawny, beautiful and delicious species in teeming estuaries, off gorgeous beaches and in the deep blue oceans surrounding the Florida peninsula.
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