The fishing cat has a deep-chested body with
short legs, a big, broad head, and a short tail.
The ears are rather short and rounded, with black
on the back and prominent white spots in the
middle. The fur is coarse and brownish gray in
color with distinctive elongated dark brown spots
arranged in longitudinal rows extending over the
entire body. The underparts are whitish and
spotted. The most important water-related
features of the fishing cat are partially webbed
front paws and a thick undercoat that is
impervious to water.
Fishing cats are 25-34 inches long (not
including the tail) and weigh 13-27 pounds, with
males being considerably larger than females.
Fishing cats are found in discontinuous
populations in northern and peninsular India,
Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, and
Heavily forested regions adjacent to rivers or
near jungles are preferred, but they can also be
found in scrub areas, reed beds, and tidal creek
areas. They have also been seen in dense
vegetation near rivers and streams in the Indian
Himalayas at elevations of up to 4,900 feet, and
as high as 7,000 feet in the mountainous areas of
Fishing cats breed once yearly, usually during
the months of January and February. Female
fishing cats call to attract males to initiate
mating. Dens are constructed in dense shrubbery,
reeds, hollow trees, in rocky crevices, or in
other secluded locations.
The female gives birth to 1-4 kittens (2 being
the average) after a gestation period of 63 days.
The kittens' eyes open at 16 days, they begin
taking meat around the 53rd day, are fully weaned
at 4-6 months, and are independent at 10 months.
It is thought that in the wild the
adult male may help with the care and supervision
of the young, but this is unverified. Captive
individuals have lived to 12 years of age.
As its name implies, the fishing cat's diet is
comprised primarily of fish, with crabs,
crayfish, and frogs also being important. The cat
hunts along the edges of watercourses and grabs
prey from the water, and will also dive into the
water to catch prey further from the banks. In
addition to "fishing" for food, fishing
cats have also been observed eating snakes,
rodents, young deer, and ducks, the latter often
being caught by the legs from under water.
Domestic chickens, goats, calves, and even dogs
are also "fair game," as are leftovers
from other animals' meals.
genus & species Prionailurus viverrinus
Animal Diversity Web http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Prionailurus_viverrinus/
International Society for Endangered Cats
San Diego Zoo http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/fishing-cat
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