A remarkable Fosa: a Madagascan (Malagasy) rarity – Madagascar 2023

A remarkable Fosa: a Madagascan (Malagasy) rarity. The Fosa is Madagascar’s largest native carnivore. Although widely distributed across Madagascar, their numbers are low, perhaps fewer than 3500 individuals, and hence they are difficult to find. In Kirindy Forest we found this heavily pregnant female as she clambered down from a tree. Fosa are capable hunters on the ground but are adept tree climbers and arboreal hunters searching the tree canopy for their favoured prey – lemurs. Their very long tail helps with balance when climbing. The tail is up to 90cm in length whilst the females body is up to 70cm in length and they weigh 5-8kg. The Fosa is remarkable in that it has reversible ankles which allow it to both climb up and down trees. An amazing creature!

DNA studies suggest that all the endemic Malagasy carnivores share a common ancestor but excludes all other carnivores hence these Malagasy carnivores are in a family of their own – The Eupleridae. The dosa’s closet relatives seem to be The Malagasy Civet and the four species of the Malagasy Mongoose.

We were very lucky to have such a close and lengthy encounter with this most extraordinary predator unique to Madagascar.