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Fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)

Fishing cat

The Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is a medium-sized cat whose disjunct global range extends from eastern Pakistan through portions of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, throughout Bangladesh and Mainland Southeast Asia to Sumatra and Java. The closest relative is the Flat-headed cat.

The Fishing Cat lives along rivers, streams and mangrove swamps. It is well adapted to this habitat, being an eager and skilled swimmer, like many other cats though people seem to think otherwise.

The fishing cat has an olive grey coloured fur with dark spots arranged stripe-like running along the length of the body. The face has a distinctly flat-nosed appearance, but not as flat as its closest relative, therefore called Flat-headed cat.

The size varies between locations. While Indian specimens grow to 80 cm (32 inch) plus 30 cm (12 inch) tail, Indonesian fishing cats only reach 65 cm (26 inch) plus 25 cm (10 inch) tail. Indian individuals weigh up to 11.7 kg (26 lbs), while in Indonesia adult fishing cats weigh in at up to approximately 6 kg (13 lbs). Male fishing cats look rather big though. They are stocky of build with medium short legs, and a short muscular tail of one half to one third of the length of the rest of the animal.

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 terrestrial animals such as rodents and birds. The inter-digital webs on its paws help the cat gain better traction in muddy environments and water, like other mammals living in semi-aquatic environments.

The Fishing 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 is believed extirpated in Afghanistan, it may already be gone from Malaysia and China, and it has become rare throughout its remaining distribution.

 

 

 

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The range of the Marbled Cat extends from Northeast India, with subspecies in Nepal, and through Southeast Asia including Borneo and Sumatra, linked to the mainland of Asia. It is similar in size to the domestic cat, with a longer, more thickly furred tail. Its fur pattern is blotched and banded like a marble and usually compared to the markings of the much larger Clouded Leopard. In colour, the base fur ranges from pale yellow to brownish grey with lighter under parts being a lighter variation. The weight is about 4,5 kg (10lbs).

Closest relatives of the Marbled cat are the Asian Golden Cat and the Bay cat, members of the genus Catopuma.

The forest provide the Marbled Cat with much of its prey: birds, squirrels, other rodents and reptiles. It is rarely sighted in its densely forested habitat and so little studied or understood. It’s population is estimated under 10.000 mature individuals. Due to its forested habitats that have been shrinking, the Marbled Cat is listed as vulnerable in IUCN.

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