Wild Tracks

On behalf of the world's wild species

Meet The Carnivore #2

fishing cat at taronga zoo, australia

Our Friday What In The World critter was a Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)

The Fishing Cat is a medium-sized cat whose range extends from eastern Pakistan  through portions of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, throughout Bangladesh and Mainland Southeast Asia to Sumatra and Java.

Like its closest relative, the Leopard Cat, the Fishing Cat lives along rivers, streams and mangrove swamps. It is well adapted to this habitat, being an eager and skilled swimmer.

As the name implies, fish is the main prey of this cat, of which it hunts about 10 different species. It also hunts other aquatic animals such as frogs or crayfish, and ground-dwelling animals such as rodents and birds. The webbing between its toes help the cat gain better traction in muddy environments and water.

This small wild cat is endangered due to its dependence on wetlands, which are increasingly being settled and converted for agriculture, and also due to human over-exploitation of local fish stocks. It may already be gone from Malaysia and China, and it has become rare throughout its remaining distribution.

Read more about the small wild cats at the International Society for Endangered Cats website, or follow the work of researchers studying Fishing Cats in Thailand.

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