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Fossas: Madagascar's Top Predators

Updated on April 14, 2013

Elusive Fossas are an Endangered Species

What is a fossa? Have you ever heard of a fossa before? You can see the fossa here to the left. It appears to be some kind of feline but scientists have determined that the fossa is neither a cat nor a dog. In fact, the fossa, an endangered species, is its own kind of animal.

The fossa comes from Madagascar and no where else in the world. Madagascar is an island off the coast of Africa and the only home to this endangered species. Fossas are the top predators of Madgascar. They eat small animals. Fossas know how to hide and for many years scientists thought they were just myths until a couple of decades ago when a research student's lemur was captured and eaten by a fossa. That discovery lead to the only known scientific study of fossas.

In this unit study, we will be learning about fossas, their habitat and endangered status. Patience, Grasshopper. You will need to stay very still and hold your position while looking for fossas. Fossas know how to hide!

Fossa: A Fearsome Predator (Book) - From the "UNcommon Animals" series

Fossas are so rare that there seems to be only one book available about them. Fossa: A Fearsome Predator tells the story of how Dr. Luke Dollar became the first person to study the fossas of Madagascar. When Luke Dollar went to Madagascar in 1994 he was a graduate student assigned to study lemurs. Unfortunately the lemur he was assigned to study was killed and eaten by a fossa.

Luke soon discovered that the fossa was the top predator of Madagascar but amazingly enough no one had yet chosen to study it. Madagascar is the only place on earth that fossas live.What an opportunity! Luke vowed he would be back on on the trail of the elusive fossa.

Fossa: A Fearsome Predator (Uncommon Animals)
Fossa: A Fearsome Predator (Uncommon Animals)

This is about the only book I've been able to find on Fossas. After discovering them I planned to leave the library with as many books as I could... a.k.a., one.


Fossas and Deforestation in Madagascar - How does deforestation effect fossas as an endangered species?

Like Abungu's small group, many fossas and other animals of Madagascar are endangered due in most part to deforestation. In this video you will learn about the deforestation of Madagascar which continues to diminish the already limited fossa habitat. Fossa populations continue to decline and are thought to be one of the most endangered species.

Fossa: The Fossas of the Bronx Zoo - Bronx Zoo rules! :D

The Bronx Zoo keeps fossas in order to research ways in which their populations may be increased. Will the research at the Bronx Zoo help to reverse the fossas' status as an endangered species?

Here is a video of fossas at the Bronx Zoo. Watch their mannerisms. Which characteristics in the fossa remind you of a cat? Which characteristics in the fossa remind you of a dog?

Make a Venn Graph using three circles. Put fossa in one, cat in one and dog in the other. Then write your comparisons in the spaces.

This video is also useful for referencing several fossa behaviors and how to animate them.

Fossas Catch the Tenrecs and Lemurs

Play Fossa Hide and Go Seek

Divide your group into Tenrecs and Lemurs. Now choose a fossa. All of the Tenrecs and Lemurs sit in a circle, bow their heads, close their eyes and cover their ears while the fossa hides. After counting to ten, all the Tenrecs and Lemurs scatter trying not to be caught. The Fussa tries to catch as much prey as possible in 5 minutes. The last prey to be caught is the next fossa.

Fossa: Favorite Character Poll - Which is your favorite fossa?

One day there will be a new movie about one of the most elusive creature on earth, the fossa. Fossa: the Movie will incorporate many fossa behaviors, while showing lovable characters and revealing the true nature behind the Malagasy settling.

Abungu has lived her entire life with her brother Take, her sister Kinuka, her mother Sarika, and her two friends, Zage and Kuru. She has always known the small patch of forest they live in, surrounded by burnt land and fields of rice. But after a shocking discovery, Abungu learns that the forest may soon be shrunk again... and her group may not survive. (Note: Names may be subject to change.)

The poll is here to be voted on, as each character will have a short description. Longer descriptions and pictures of the fossas are coming in the near future.

Who is your favorite character from the Fossa: the Movie project?

See results

Fossa: Acrobats - Fossa Acrobats

This video is useful for referencing when animating fossa fights and games. They play so quickly it can be hard to see every movement.

Fossa: Visit the FtM Website! - Artists, Actors and Animators Wanted for a Movie about Fossas!

We are currently searching for volunteer helpers for the project! Do you have a desire to be a part of a production that might save an endangered species? We will be looking for animators, voice actors, color artists, background artists etc.

Come write about fossas on Wizzley, a fun and easy place to express your opinion:

Folks who are Fascinated by Fossas - Please leave your fossa comments here.

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    • caketech profile image

      caketech 6 years ago

      I love lenses like this when I learn something new! Thanks for sharing this!

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 6 years ago from California

      I had never heard of a Fossa. Thanks for educating me. Bear hugs, Frankie

    • akumar46 lm profile image

      akumar46 lm 6 years ago

      Lovely creatures........Nice lens and great information.Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      You inspire me! You are a big part of the reason I want to homeschool. Great lens! I love all your stuff.

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      amazing creatures - I would love to visit Madagascar - David Attenbourgh just did a wonderful documentary from there.

      but I digress - dusted with a little Angel Dust and featured on Angel Blessed in April

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 7 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      I want to know more. What are they? Cats? Related to weasels? Tasmanian Devils?

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 7 years ago from Central Florida

      Fascinating to see how they used their tails for balancing and also the way they could grasp a limb with their hind legs and dangle down.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      @TreasuresBrenda: Thank you, Brenda. This lens was a collaboration between my 13 year old and I. She is fascinated by the animals of Madagascar and especially fossas.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 8 years ago from Canada

      Nicely done, Evelyn. I like how you've incorporated many different Squidoo modules.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      [in reply to Tipi] Thank you, SquidAngel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Another great lens Evelyn. I had never heard of this animal, so once again I am your student.

      Thank you and blessed by an angel!


    • profile image

      inkserotica 8 years ago

      Fascinating creature :) 5*