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The Fishing Cat

The Fishing cat, Prionailurus viverrinus, is about twice the size of a large domestic cat.  A male will weigh about 15 Kg, and a female half that.

Diet

As its name suggests, the Fishing Cat will catch and eat fish.  Much of its prey is associated with the water.  This cat will attract fish by gently touching the surface of the water.  Sometimes they will swipe with their paws and scoop the fish onto dry land.  Other times they will dive in and catch the fish in the water.

They will also eat birds.  Apart from birds caught on the land, the Fishing Cat can dive underwater and catch swimming water birds from underneath.

Although smaller prey are normal, the Fishing Cat will eat larger things like calves and small dogs.

Habitat

This cat generally lives near water.  Wetlands are an obvious habitat.  These include the Sundarbans of India and Bangladesh.   There have been reports of it being located far from water, but this seems to be unusual.

Unlike the big cats, the Fishing Cat may not be completely incompatible with Human settlement and there is a small amount of evidence of it adapting to living with us.  Of course there are plenty of possibilities for conflict, and people would also have to adapt.

Range

The Fishing Cat has quite a large range, being found in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, China, Malaysia and Indonesia.  However, this is quite misleading.  In some of these places it is so rare that doubt exists whether it is still present.

Threats

The Biggest threat to this animal is the destruction of wetlands by Human Beings.  Hunting also occurs.  This animal is considered edible by some groups of people and its fur is in some demand.

Pesticides

The use of pesticides on rice in particular is a threat to this cat.  Being near the top of the food chain, pesticide residues tend to get concentrated so they will have more effect on this predator than on its prey species.

The destruction of its prey is also a problem.  People will eat some of the same things.  There is also the problem that fish are more vulnerable to pesticides than many pests and many are killed inadvertently by pesticides, resulting in less fish for this animal to eat as well as less for the farmer to eat.

Vulnerable

This Cat is listed as vulnerable and decreasing in numbers.  There might be as few as 10,000 left in the wild.


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