Fishing Cat

Prionailurus viverrinus

Fishing cat
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Mammals
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae

We are home to 2 year old female fishing cat Freya, who joined us back in September 2020 from Prague Zoo. Fishing Cats are known for being very shy and elusive creatures, so she might be a tough one to spot on your visit!

Fishing cats are native to southeast Asia, northern India and Sri Lanka. They inhabit areas of wetland, including swamps and marshes, lakes, mangrove areas and creeks.

As their name suggests fishing cats prey primarily on fish, frogs and crustaceans.

Interesting facts!

  • The fishing cat is yet another feline that contradicts the belief that cats dislike water. They are actually one of the best swimmers around, frequently entering the water to prey on fish.
  • They have two layers of fur – one layer is very short and dense to keep them warm whilst they’re in the water. The second layer of hair are called guard hairs, which are longer and give the fishing cat their camouflaged pattern.
  • Their paws are webbed to help them swim and walk in muddy wetlands without sinking.
  • They have 32 muscles in their ears and can rotate almost a full 180 degrees, so they can hear in several directions without turning their head!

Conservation

The fishing cat is protected by national legislation over nearly all of its range, with exception of Bhutan, Vietnam and Malaysia. This legal protection is hard to enforce, therefore illegal poaching does take place. There is little habitat protection for the species, and as habitat destruction is the primary reason why numbers are declining in the wild, it is essential to breed this species in captivity and not allow them to become anymore endangered.