FISHING CAT FEBRUARY 2019

February is a month dedicated to this wetland loving species!

So what exactly is a fishing cat?

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Wetland Specialists

Fishing cats are a highly elusive species, found mainly in wetland and mangrove habitats. However, some populations in Sri Lanka have been recorded in highly urbanized landscapes and montane forests.

They are classified as Vulnerable under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and Endangered within their South and Southeast Asian range countries.

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Little leopards

Fishing cats are often feared and killed because they are mistaken for young leopards.

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Master Anglers

Unlike most species of feline, fishing cats love water and are known to dive in and swim after fish!

Double Coated

They have two layers of fur. The first is its dense undercoat which keeps the cat warm and dry while swimming. The second is made up of long guard hairs that is responsible for the cats coat colour and spot pattern.

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Track Spikes

Like cheetahs, fishing cats have semi-retractable claws on their hind paws. These are the only two felids that have this adaptation.

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Anchoring

These semi-retractable claws help keep fishing cats firmly in place on muddy banks when grabbing fish out of the water.

first-camera-trap-photo-of-fishing-cat

This is the first camera trap image of a fishing cat in India and probably, the world!

These images are from a time when infra-red camera traps were yet to be discovered. This set-up had to be designed so that the cat steps on an object which would trigger the camera to flash and take the shot. An expedition in early 1980s to document the presence of this elusive cat from the Sundarbans led by Kushal Mukherjee and team Prakriti Samsad.

Text and image from The Fishing Cat Project, India.

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