Fishing Cat

Uploaded 25 May 2009 — 3 favorites
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© Maureen Jochetz
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Photo Info
UploadedMay 26, 2009
TakenMay 24, 2009
MakeNikon Corporation
ModelNIKON D70s
Exposure1/60 sec at f/6.3
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length300 mm
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Q: Good tripods??

A: Do you know?

Photo license: © All rights reserved


Facts About Fishing Cats


Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus and Species: Prionailurus viverrinus

Description: Fishing cats range from about 25 pounds for males to about 15 pounds for females. Head and body length is 25 to 34 inches. These cats have a long, stocky body, relatively short legs, a broad head, round ears, and a short tail. Their olive-gray fur has black stripes and rows of black spots.

Distribution and Habitat: The fishing cat’s general distribution is southwest India, Sri Lanka, countries of the southern Himalayas, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, China, and the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. However, these cats are not found all throughout this broad area because of their habitat preferences. They are strongly tied to densely vegetated areas near water, in marshes, mangroves, rivers, and streams.

Diet: The fishing cat’s diet includes birds, small mammals, snakes, snails, and fish. The cat attracts fish by lightly tapping the water's surface with its paw, mimicking insect movements. Then, it dives into the water to catch the fish. It can also use its partially webbed paws to scoop fish, frogs, and other prey out of the water or swim underwater to prey on ducks and other aquatic birds. It is powerful enough to take large prey, such as calves and dogs.

Reproduction: Two to three young are born after a gestation of about 63 days. Young reach adult size at less than one year of age. Little is known about the details of their reproductive or social behavior in the wild.

Conservation: Fishing cats are are listed as vulnerable on the World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Species. They are threatened by habitat loss and hunting for food and fur. People have drained many wetland areas to make room for farmland and roads. Pollution from industries has poisoned rivers and streams where fishing cats once fed. However, fishing cats appear to do well in suburban habitats, so they may prove adaptable to human activities that some other species.

Fun Facts

When swimming, the fishing cat may use its short, flattened tail like a rudder, helping control its direction in the water.

Part of the fishing cat's scientific name, viverrinus, comes from the taxonomic family Viverridae. Like the fishing cat, civets and other members of this group have long bodies and short legs, and many have stripes or spots along the body, and banded tails.

6 responses

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham (Deleted) gave props (25 May 2009):

    A beautiful capture!!

  • Judy Wanamaker

    Judy Wanamaker (Deleted) gave props (26 May 2009):

    Wonderful shot! Thanks for the info. I had never heard of them. They look a lot like ocelots to me.

  • Lynn H

    Lynn H (Deleted) gave props (26 May 2009):

    Awesome! I've never heard of these cats! What a gorgeous animal. TY for the education.

  • eithne mythen

    eithne mythen gave props (28 May 2009):

    Lovely capture and no I had never heard of them..

  • Vidyavati Chandan

    Vidyavati Chandan (Deleted) gave props (19 Jun 2009):


  • David de London

    David de London gave props (13 Nov 2016):

    Great shot and detail. Narative adds a lot to the photo. Well done.

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