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Fishing Cat - Prionailurus viverrinus
Fishing Cat - Prionailurus viverrinus

[Image: photo.jpg]

Scientific classification 
Kingdom: Animalia 
Phylum: Chordata 
Class: Mammalia 
Order: Carnivora 
Family: Felidae 
Genus: Prionailurus 
Species: P. viverrinus

The Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is a medium-sized cat whose disjunct global range extends from eastern Pakistan through portions of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, throughout Bangladesh and Mainland Southeast Asia to Sumatra and Java. 

[Image: jsfishingcatmapsm.jpg]

Physical Description
Its fur has an olive-grey color and dark spots roughly arranged in longitudinal stripes. The face has a distinctly flat-nosed appearance. The size is variable; while in India it is 80 cm (32 in) plus 30 cm (12 in) tail, in Indonesia, it is only 65 cm (26 in) plus 25 cm (10 in) tail. Indian individuals usually range up to 11.7 kg (26 lbs), while in Indonesia common weights are approximately 6 kg (13 lbs). They are stocky of build with medium short legs, and a short muscular tail of one half to one third of their head and body length.

Like its closest relative, the Leopard Cat, the Fishing Cat lives along rivers, brooks and mangrove swamps. It is perhaps better adapted to this habitat, since it swims often and skillfully.

[Image: photo.jpg]

As its name implies, the fishing cat predominantly preys on fish (6). Largely active at night, fishing cats are good swimmers and have been observed diving for fish, as well as scooping them out of the water with their paws. These cats will also prey on frogs, crustaceans, snakes, birds, calves, goats, and dogs, and will scavenge on carcasses of larger animals.

[Image: photo.jpg]

[Image: photo.jpg]

Although capable of breeding all year round, birth peaks have been noted in March and May in north-eastern India. One to four kittens are born after a gestation period of 63 days. Young suckle until they are six months old and reach independence at ten months. In captivity, males have been recorded to aid in the rearing of young (5). Fishing cats live an average of 12 years, but have been known to live more than 15 years in captivity.

[Image: photo.jpg]

[Image: photo.jpg]

The Fishing Cat is endangered due to its dependence on wetlands, which are increasingly being settled and converted for agriculture, and also due to human overexploitation of local fish stocks. It is believed extinct in Afghanistan, may already be gone from Malaysia and China, and has become rare throughout its remaining distribution
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[-] The following 1 user Likes Taipan's post:
  • Claudiu Constantin Nicolaescu
Gato Gordo Wrote:These are photographs of a captive tamed fishing cat in Russia. The cat appears next a normal sized adult domestic tom. Notice how the head and paws of the fishing cat are so much massive than those of the domestic cat. It is a really impressive feline.

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[-] The following 1 user Likes Taipan's post:
  • Claudiu Constantin Nicolaescu
The fishing cat is one of the most mascular of the small felines.
[-] The following 2 users Like OldGreenVulture's post:
  • Claudiu Constantin Nicolaescu, onlyfaizy786
Feeding behaviour of fishing cat in Godavari mangroves India.

We observed a rare feeding behavior of a catfish Prionailurus viverrinus on a dog-faced water snake Cerberus rynchops and pond heron Ardeola grayii in the mangroves of the Godavari delta in India. Since fishing cats are threatened due to various levels of anthropogenic pressure, these observations giving insight into their behavior highlight the need to study these elusive cats.

In May 2014, we came across a solitary male fishing cat foraging on the creeks during low tide at around 11:30 h. After a few minutes waiting at the bank for fishes in the creek, the cat started walking again. Suddenly the 
cat spotted a basking dog-faced water snake on the bank; with a sudden strike it attacked the snake to kill it and started consuming it (Fig. 1). When hunting for fishes in the creeks or for catching prey fishing cats can remain 
in a steady position for several hours without making any movement, only moving their ears occasionally to capture the surrounding sounds. We observed this kind of behaviour on several occasions during our surveys. This 
kind of behaviour was also explained by local fishermen who hunt in the creeks, they call this behaviour “Matumeeda unna pilli”, which in their local language Telugu means “ambush by the cat in silence”. Such obser-
vations have been filmed several times.

On 17 January 2017, we observed a solitary male fishing cat hunting a pond heron in the sanctuary area. Within a matter of few seconds the cat emerged out of the mangrove thickets, pounced on the bird, grabbed it by 
the neck and went back into the forest (Fig. 2). Both observations were made during the low tide when the water was receding. These observations also matched with the two years of camera trapping data that suggest fishing cats being more active during low tide times in the Godavari Delta.

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[-] The following 2 users Like Shenzi's post:
  • Claudiu Constantin Nicolaescu, onlyfaizy786
Quote:Fishing cats (Prionailurus viverrinus) are small wild cats with a discontinuous distribution in mangroves, wetlands, rivers, and swamps in parts of South and Southeast Asia (Nowell and Jackson 1996, IUCN 2010). The species was classified as globally endangered in 2008, based on steep population declines (especially in Southeast Asia) over the past several decades (IUCN 2008). Fishing cats are good swimmers with semi-webbed paws and a relatively short but muscular tail that can be used as a rudder in the water (Roberts 1977). Few studies have been conducted on the diet composition of wild fishing cats, and none has been published based on populations in Southeast Asia. One in-depth study (Haque and Vijayan 1993) was carried out in India and a number of other authors cite ad-hoc observations of diet habits (Jerdon 1874, Prater 1965, Roberts 1977, Sunquist and Sunquist 2002). These studies support a general pattern of fish as the primary food source supplemented by domestic chickens, birds, rodents, snakes, frogs, crabs, mollusks, and insects
 Fishing cats are known to pursue animals twice their body size (Branford 1988) and there are reports of fishing cats consuming chital (Axis axis) fawns (Sunquist and Sunquist 2002, Jerdon 1874), dogsyoung domestic calves, and even unattended human infants (Sterndale 1884). Scavenging behavior has also been documented in fishing cats; Haque (1988) observed a fishing cat feeding on a cow’s carcass in Keoladeo National Park, India. Vegetable matter such as grass is also commonly found in scats (Haque and Vijayan 1993).  

Diet Composition Scats were found in greater density along dikes, and or edges of fish and shrimp ponds or along rice paddies where water pools with stranded fish were found. Overall proportions of major prey groups were 42% fish, 27% mammal, 24% bird, 5% reptile, 2% crustacean, and 0.5% domestic chicken (table 1-1). Seasonality During the dry season (December-June), fish and birds remains represented a relatively higher proportion of the diet (47% and 29%, respectively) than during the wet season (39% and 20%, respectively). In contrast, mammals were only 11% of the diet in the dry season but increased to 39% in the wet season. Reptiles and crustaceans represented an insignificantly different (small) proportion of the diet during both the dry (11% and 3%) and wet seasons (2% and 1%) (߯ଶ p-value= 0.001, d.f.2). Most feathers found in scats were from the Great Egret (Ardea alba) and Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis). The mammals were primarily rats (Bandicota bengalensis and Rattus argentiventer) which were very common in the study area. Evidence of reptiles was found in only a few cases and could only be identified as an unknown species of snake. Finally, fishing cats likely fed on several species of crabs but identity to species was not possible. Only one scat of 194 collected was found to contain domestic chicken remains. Hunting and Other Diet-related Behavior Observations. I frequently encountered multiple scats together in latrines (Figure 1-3). Latrines were almost always located on bare ground that was higher than the surrounding area such as on top of prominent dikes or inside abandoned huts. This observation indicates that scats may have been selectively placed and therefore not always associated with habitat. 

Identification of prey remains in scat:
I assumed the hair was ingested by fishing cats during grooming. Because no predators of fishing cats occurred on the study landscape, I concluded that any scats with fishing cat hair were produced by fishing cats. I further tested fishing cat hair identification by comparing hair collected from a captured fishing cat to hair found in 20 randomly selected scats. Hairs with the same pattern as those collected from a captured fishing cat were found among remains of prey species (e.g. small mammal hair and bones; bird feathers) in all 20 samples I tested. I used several criteria to conclude that a given scat was produced by a fishing cat. Candidate scats were those associated with fishing cat tracks, those found at the site and time period of camera trap locations documenting fishing cats, those clearly produced by trapped individuals, and those found at sites known, from radio telemetry, to be used by fishing cats. Tracks associated with scats were considered those of fishing cats if track shape and sizes were consistent with the ranges of a sample set collected from captive fishing cats (e.g. pad width size 2.3-3.5 cm.). The maximum width of all scats encountered was also recorded. To confirm that all scats were from fishing cats and not confused with domestic dog, scats > 2.5 cm were not used for this study. Given that the full faunal composition of the study area is poorly documented and compiling a reference collection (e.g. of species-specific hair, feathers, scales) would have been prohibitively time consuming, I categorized prey remains in scats (e.g. bone, feather, hair, and other materials) into six broad taxonomic categories: mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, crabs, other invertebrates. I also conducted DNA analysis for species identification. This was carried out at the School of Veterinary Medicine, Kasetsart University, Bangkok. To test my hypothesis that scats collected were from fishing cats, four semi-fresh scats collected in the field (all consistent with the physical characteristics of other scats collected) were genetically analyzed to determine the species of origin. The QIAGEN stool amplification kit ( was used for DNA extraction and QIAGEN Multiplex PCR kit ( was used for DNA PCR amplification. A fragment analysis genotyping method was used to obtain allele sizes of 14 microsatellite markers. Each sample was genotyped three times to 
obtain accuracy of allele size and reduce error during amplification due to allelic dropout and false allele amplification.
[-] The following 1 user Likes onlyfaizy786's post:
  • Claudiu Constantin Nicolaescu
"The reference to fishing cats killing leopards originates from a 1929 reference (Finn 1929). Finn reports on a captive fishing cat breaking through a dividing wall into the next cage containing a tame, young female leopard, twice the size of the fishing cat, and killing it. Fishing cats kept in captivity that have not been hand-raised remain very aggressive towards keepers and in some instances, each other (pers. comm."
[-] The following 1 user Likes onlyfaizy786's post:
  • Claudiu Constantin Nicolaescu

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