Areas of wetland, including swamps and marshes, lakes, mangrove areas and creeks.
As the name suggests, the fishing cat prey primarily on fish, frogs and crustaceans for a tasty meal. Given the chance, these cats will consume livestock.
The fishing cat is another feline that contradicts the belief that cats dislike water, frequently entering the water to prey on fish. However they have incorrectly credited with having physical adaptions for this lifestyle. They were thought to have webbed feet, but the membrane which separates the toes giving an appearance of webbed feet is no more developed in the fishing cat than in other cat species.
These cats are capable of breeding all year round, but in northern areas of India birth peaks occur in March and May.
Habitat destruction is an issue for fishing cats - their waterway habitats are cleared for farming or become polluted, and over-fishing has depleted their main food source. Some countries still rely on fishing cat body parts for traditional medicines, and due to their partiality for livestock, they are also being hunted by farmers.
The fishing cat is protected by national legislation over nearly all of its range, with the 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 in decline, it is essential to breed this species in captivity and not allow them to become any more endangered.
- Latin Name: Prionailurus viverrinus
- Class: Mammals
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Felidae
- Conservation Status: Endangered
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