Fishing cat

The fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is a medium-sized wild cat of South and Southeast Asia. Since 2016, it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Fishing cat populations are threatened by destruction of wetlands and have declined severely over the last decade.[1] The fishing cat lives foremost in the vicinity of wetlands, along rivers, streams, oxbow lakes, in swamps, and mangroves.[2]

The fishing cat is the state animal of West Bengal.[3]

Fishing cat
Fishing cat amidst mangroves
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Genus: Prionailurus
P. viverrinus
Binomial name
Prionailurus viverrinus
(Bennett, 1833)
FishingCat distribution
Distribution of fishing cat


Felis viverrinus was proposed by Edward Turner Bennett in 1833 who described a fishing cat skin from India.[4] Prionailurus was proposed by Nikolai Severtzov in 1858 as generic name for spotted wild cats native to Asia.[5] Felis viverrinus rhizophoreus was proposed by Henri Jacob Victor Sody in 1936 who described a specimen from the north coast of West Java that had a slightly shorter skull than specimens from Thailand.[6]


A fishing cat at the San Diego Zoo. Note the ocelli on the backs of the cat's ears.

The fishing cat is the largest of the Prionailurus cats. Its coarse fur is olive-grey to ashy-grey with darker stripes on the shoulder and roundish or oval-shaped spots on the flanks and sides. The short and rounded ears are set low on the head, and the back of the ears have a white spot. Two stripes are on the cheeks, and four stripes run from above the eyes between the ears to the shoulder. The underside is white, and around the throat are two rows of spots. The tail is short, less than half the length of head and body, spotted at the base and with a few black rings at the end.[7] The underside fur is longer and often overlaid with spots.[8] It is about twice the size of a domestic cat and stocky and muscular with medium to short legs. Its face is elongated. Its head-to-body length typically ranges from 57 to 78 cm (22 to 31 in), with a tail of 20 to 30 cm (7.9 to 11.8 in). Female fishing cats range in weight from 5.1 to 6.8 kg (11 to 15 lb), and males from 8.5 to 16 kg (19 to 35 lb).[9]

Its paws are less completely webbed than those of the leopard cat, and the claws are incompletely sheathed so that they protrude slightly when retracted.[7] Webbed feet have often been noted as a characteristic of the fishing cat, but the webbing beneath the toes is not much more developed than that of a bobcat.[10]

Distribution and habitat

Prionailurus viverrinus 03
Fishing cat photographed in Nepal

The fishing cat is broadly but discontinuously distributed in Asia, and is primarily found in the Terai region of the Himalayan foothills in India and Nepal, in eastern India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. There are no confirmed records from Peninsular Malaysia, Vietnam and Laos.[1][11] It is strongly associated with wetlands, inhabiting swamps and marshy areas around oxbow lakes, reed beds, tidal creeks and mangrove forests; it seems less abundant around smaller, fast-moving watercourses. Most records are from lowland areas.[2]

In 2012, a fishing cat was recorded in the Chotiari Dam area in Pakistan's Sindh Province.[12]

In the Nepal Terai, it has been recorded in Bardia, Chitwan and Parsa National Parks and in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve.[13][14][15][16]

In India, the presence of fishing cats has been documented in Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, in Dudhwa and Valmiki Tiger Reserves, in Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, outside protected areas in West Bengal, in Lothian Island Wildlife Sanctuary in the Sundarbans, in Odisha's Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and coastal districts outside protected areas, in Andhra Pradesh's Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary, Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary and adjoining reserve forests.[17][1][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25]

Reports in Bangladeshi newspapers indicate that fishing cats live in all divisions of Bangladesh but are severely threatened; villagers killed at least 30 fishing cats between January 2010 and March 2013.[26]

In Thailand, the presence of fishing cats has been documented in Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park and Thale Noi Non-Hunting Area along the coast, and in Kaeng Krachan National Park.[27][28] Between 2007 and 2016, fishing cats were also recorded near wetlands outside protected areas in Phitsanulok Province, Bang Khun Thian District, Samut Sakhon Province, Phetchaburi and Songkhla Provinces, and near a mangrove site in Pattani.[29]

In March 2003, a single fishing cat was photographed by a camera trap in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, northern Cambodia.[30] In 2008, a fishing cat kitten was found in Botum-Sakor National Park, southwest Cambodia.[31] In 2015, fishing cats were also recorded in a coastal wetland in Cambodia.[32]

The island of Java constitutes the southern limit of fishing cat range, but by the 1990s fishing cats were scarce and apparently restricted to tidal forests with sandy or muddy shores, older mangrove stands, and abandoned mangrove plantation areas with fishponds.[33]

Ecology and behavior

Fishing cat in Godavari mangroves
A fishing cat in the Godavari mangroves at night

The fishing cat is thought to be primarily nocturnal, and is very much at home near water. It can swim long distances, even under water. Adult males and females without dependent young are solitary. Females have been reported to range over areas of 4 to 6 km2 (1.5 to 2.3 sq mi), while males range over 16 to 22 km2 (6.2 to 8.5 sq mi). Adults have been observed to make a "chuckling" sound.[9]

Fishing cats have been observed while hunting along the edges of watercourses, grabbing prey from the water, and sometimes diving into the water to catch prey further from the banks.[34] Their main prey is fish; scat collected in India's Keoladeo National Park revealed that fish comprises approximately three-quarters of their diet, with the remainder consisting of birds, insects, and small rodents. Molluscs, reptiles including snakes, amphibians and carrion of domestic cattle supplement their diet.[35]

They mark their territory using cheek-rubbing, head rubbing, chin rubbing, neck rubbing and urine-spraying to leave scent marks. They also sharpen their claws and display flehmen behavior.[36]

Reproduction and development

Wild fishing cats most likely mate during January and February; most kittens in the wild were observed in March and April.[9] In captivity, the gestation period lasts 63–70 days; females give birth to two or three kittens.[36] They weigh around 170 g (6.0 oz) at birth, and are able to actively move around by the age of one month. They begin to play in water and to take solid food when about two months old, but are not fully weaned until six months old. They reach full adult size when about eight and a half months old, acquire their adult canine teeth by 11 months, and are sexually mature when approximately 15 months old. They live up to 10 years in captivity.[9]


The Fishing cat is threatened by destruction of wetlands, which are increasingly being polluted and converted for agricultural use and human settlements. The conversion of mangrove forests to commercial aquaculture ponds is a major threat in Andhra Pradesh, where the targeted killing of fishing cats is also prevalent where there is human/animal conflict. Over-exploitation of local fish stocks and retaliatory killing are also significant threats.[1] In West Bengal's Howrah district, 27 dead fishing cats were recorded between April 2010 and May 2011.[19] In Bangladesh, at least 30 fishing cats were killed by local people in three years between January 2010 and March 2013.[26] Furthermore, in a study in Thailand, 84% of all fishing cats that were tracked via radio collars were killed – either due to poaching or unknown causes.[1]

The fishing cat is possibly extinct in coastal Kerala, India.[37]


Prionailurus viverrinus at Cincinnati Zoo
Fishing cat at the Cincinnati Zoo

Prionailurus viverrinus is included on CITES Appendix II, and protected by national legislation over most of its range. Hunting is prohibited in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand. Hunting regulations apply in Lao PDR. In Bhutan and Vietnam, the species is not protected outside protected areas.[2] Its survival depends on protection of wetlands, prevention of indiscriminate trapping, snaring and poisoning.[1]

In areas where habitat degradation is a major concern, such as coastal Andhra Pradesh, NGO are working to slow habitat conversion in collaboration with local villagers. Part of this work involves creating alternative livelihood programs that allow villagers to earn money without damaging natural habitats.[38]

In captivity

Fishing Cat Pessac zoo
Fishing cat in Pessac Zoo

Fishing cat captive breeding programmes have been established by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria and the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums. All the fishing cats kept in zoos around the world are listed in the International Studbook of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Local names

In Assamese language, the fishing cat is known as meseka (Assamese: মেচেকা), probably derived from mas (Assamese: মাছ) meaning "fish".

In Bengali language, the fishing cat is known as "mach-baghrol" and "bagh-dasha".[39] "Mācha" means "fish", and "bāgha" means "tiger".[40]

In Hindi languages, it is known as "bunbiral" and "khupya bagh".[41]

In Telugu language, it is called "bavuru pilli" meaning "wild cat".[42]

In Sinhala language, the fishing cat is known as "handun diviya".[43]

In Thai language, it is called "suea pla" (Thai: เสือปลา; RTGSsuea pla), literally "fish tiger".[44] In Myanmar language, it is called "Kyaung-ta-nga" "ကြောင်တံငါ" "Kyaung" means "cat" and "ta-nga" means "fisherman".


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External links

Doi Phu Nang National Park

Doi Phu Nang National Park (Thai: อุทยานแห่งชาติดอยภูนาง) is a national park in Dok Khamtai, Pong and Chiang Muan Districts, Phayao Province, Thailand.


The Felinae is a subfamily of the family Felidae that comprises the small cats that have a bony hyoid, because of which they are able to purr but not roar.Other authors proposed an alternative definition for this subfamily: as comprising only the living conical-toothed cat genera with two tribes, the Felini and Pantherini; thus excluding all fossil cat species.

Fisher cat

Fisher cat may refer to:

An informal name for the fisher (animal), a relative of the weasel

Another name for the fishing cat, a type of cat found in Asia (Prionailurus viverrinus).

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats, a minor-league baseball team in the United States

Flat-headed cat

The flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) is a small wild cat native to the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Borneo, and Sumatra. It is an Endangered species, because the wild population probably comprises fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, with small subpopulations of no more than 250 adults. The population inhabits foremost wetlands, which are being destroyed and converted. For these reasons, it is listed on the IUCN Red List since 2008.It was initially placed in the genus Felis, but is now considered one of the five species in Prionailurus.Flat-headed cats are very rare in captivity, with fewer than 10 individuals, all kept in Malaysian and Thai zoos as recorded by Species360.

Jolán Földes

Jolán Földes (Yolanda Foldes or Yolanda Clarent) (20 December 1902, Kenderes – October 1963, London) was a Hungarian author. Her most famous novel is the Street of the Fishing Cat.

Jolán Földes graduated in Budapest (1921), and went to Paris where she worked as a workerwoman and clerk. Her first novel, Mária jól érett (1932) was a literary success in Hungary and awarded with Mikszáth Prize.

Her comedy, Majd a Vica (1935), written together with Pál Vajda was presented by the prestigious New Theater.

Her novel A halászó macska utcája tells the difficult life of a family of working class Hungarian emigrants in Paris after World War I. It won the 1936 All-nations Prize Novel Competition of the Pinter Publishing Ltd (London). The title refers to the name of the narrowest street in Paris, Rue du Chat-qui-Pêche (Street of the Fishing Cat). The novel was translated to 12 European languages.

Among her books are Prelude to Love, Shadows on the Mirror and Férjhez megyek (I'm Getting Married, 1935), Ági nem emlékszik semmire (1933), Péter nem veszti el a fejét (1937), Fej vagy írás (1937), Más világrész (1937).

In 1941 Földes emigrated to London and her later works were written in English.

Interlude, first published in England under the title Heads or Tails (originally Fej vagy írás), is set in Egypt at the time of the Spanish Revolution.

Golden Earrings was made into a film in 1947, starring Marlene Dietrich and Ray Milland. The novel, originally written in English, was translated to Hungarian in 1946 under the title Aranyfülbevaló.

Jolán Földes was a popular author of the interwar era. Her novels are entertaining but she is considered a light-weight author by literary critics. Only the Street of the Fishing Cat is appreciated as an important literary achievement. The novel was republished in Hungary in 1989.

Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary

Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and estuary located in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is one of the rarest eco-regions of the world because it harbors vast tracts of pristine mangrove forests. It is believed by conservationists to be one of the last remaining tracts of thick primary mangrove forests of South India, which is rapidly disappearing due to absence of protective measures.

Kumana National Park

Kumana National Park in Sri Lanka is renowned for its avifauna, particularly its large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds. The park is 391 kilometres (243 mi) southeast of Colombo on Sri Lanka's southeastern coast. Kumana is contiguous with Yala National Park. Kumana was formerly known as Yala East National Park, but changed to its present name on 5th September 2006.The park was closed from 1985 to March 2003 because of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) attacks. It was also affected by the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.

List of Indian state animals

India, officially the Republic of India is a country in South Asia. It is made up of 29 states and 7 union territories. All Indian states have their own government and theUnion territories come under the jurisdiction of the Central Government. As most of the other countries India too has a national emblem—the Lion Capital of Sarnath.

Apart from India's national emblem, each of its States and Union Territories have their own state seals and symbols which include state animals, birds, trees, flowers etc. A list of state animals of India is given below. See Symbols of Indian states and territories for a complete list of all State characters and seals.

List of mammals of India

This is a list of mammals found in India. The taxonomic order is based on Wilson and Reeder (1993) and this list is largely based on Nameer (2000)

The mammals of India ranges in size from the Eurasian pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus) to the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Many of the carnivores and larger mammals are restricted in their distribution to forests in protected areas, while others live within the cities in the close proximity of humans.

Some species are common to the point of being considered vermin while others are exceedingly rare. Many species are known from just a few specimens in museums collected in the 19th and 20th centuries. These enigmatic species include nocturnal small mammals such as the Malabar civet (Viverra megaspila). While the status of many of these species is unknown, some are definitely extinct. Populations of many carnivores are threatened. The tiger (Panthera tigris), dhole (Cuon alpinus), fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), Malabar large-spotted civet (Viverra civettina) and Himalayan wolf (Canis himalayensis) are some of the most endangered species of carnivore. Two species of rhinoceros are extinct within the Indian region but the remaining species has its last stronghold within India. The Asiatic cheetah has officially gone extinct in India in the 1950s.

List of mammals of Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park is a national park and an UNESCO World Heritage Site in India. The park contains significant breeding populations of more than 35 mammalian species, out of which 15 are threatened mammals according to the IUCN Red List.The park has the world's single largest breeding population of Indian rhinoceros, with the 2006 census estimating the present population to be around 1,855, around 70% of the world's total wild population of 2,700.The park contains significant stock of three other large herbivores — the Asian elephant, the wild Asian water buffalo and the subspecies eastern swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli ranjitsinghi). A census on wild Asiatic buffaloes in March 2001 revealed the presence of 1,666 buffaloes — the largest single population of the species reported in this millennium, up from 677 in the 1984 census. Assam is India's most populous state with respect to Asiatic elephants (an estimated 5,500 out of a total of 10,000 wild Asiatic elephants in India live in Assam), and Kaziranga contains as many as 1,206 elephants (from the 2005 census), up from 1048 individuals (in the 2002 census). The combined Kaziranga - Karbi Anglong Elephant Reserve has as many as 1940 elephants according to the 2005 survey.The eastern race of the swamp deer also had 468 individuals existing as noted in the 2002 census, down from 756 individuals noted in the 1984 census. Other stable populations of large herbivores include the gaur (30 individuals in 1984) and the sambar (58 in 1999). Smaller herbivores include the Indian muntjac (100 in the 1972 census), wild boar (431 in 1999), barking deer and hog deer (5045 in 1999).The park has a large variety of primates including all free roaming primates in India with the exception of the endemic Western Ghats primates and the newly discovered Arunachal macaque. This includes the vulnerable and rare species of Bengal slow loris, Assamese macaque, capped langur, golden langur and the only ape found in India — the hoolock gibbon.Kaziranga also has the rare distinction of being one of the very few places in the world which contains breeding population of three big cats outside Africa — the royal Bengal tiger, the Indian leopard and the clouded leopard. Kaziranga had a population of around 30 Bengal tigers during the 1972 census, which grew to 86 in the 2000 census. This made Kaziranga the protected area with the highest tiger density in the world (0.2 tigers /km2), and Kaziranga formally became a tiger reserve in 2006.The park is also home to sloth bears and to lesser felids like the jungle cat, fishing cat and the leopard cat. Other small mammals include the rare hispid hare and several common species of mongoose (Indian gray mongoose, small Indian mongoose), civets (large Indian civet, small Indian civet), small canids (Bengal fox, golden jackal) pangolins (Chinese pangolin, Indian pangolin), weasels (hog badger, Chinese ferret badger), the particolored flying squirrel and bats.Kaziranga's rivers (especially the adjoining stretch of the Brahmaputra) are home to the blind, highly endangered Ganges dolphin.Even though the ubiquitous wild boar is present in Kaziranga, and Assam was part of the historical range of the critically endangered pygmy hog, the pygmy hog is no longer found in Kaziranga. The Indian Javan rhinoceros was probably also an inhabitant of Kaziranga before becoming extinct.


Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.

Newquay Zoo

Newquay Zoo is a zoological garden located within Trenance Leisure Park in Newquay, England. The zoo was opened in Cornwall on Whit Monday, 26 May 1969 by the local council (Newquay Urban District Council, later Restormel District Council). It was privately owned by Mike Thomas and Roger Martin from 1993 until 2003. In August 2003 Stewart Muir became the new Director and the zoo became part of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, alongside Paignton Zoo and Living Coasts. The zoo is part of a registered charity, and was awarded various South West and Cornwall 'Visitor Attraction of The Year' and 'Sustainable Tourism' awards for excellence in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Opisthorchis viverrini

Opisthorchis viverrini, common name Southeast Asian liver fluke, is a food-borne trematode parasite from the family Opisthorchiidae that infects the bile duct. People are infected after eating raw or undercooked fish. Infection with the parasite is called opisthorchiasis. O. viverrini infection also increases the risk of cholangiocarcinoma, a cancer of the bile ducts.A small, leaf-like fluke, O. viverrini completes its lifecycle in three different animals. Snails of the species Bithynia are the first intermediate hosts, fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae are the second intermediate host, and the definitive hosts are humans and other mammals such as dogs, cats, rats, and pigs. It was first discovered in the Indian fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrus) by M.J. Poirier in 1886. The first human case was discovered by Robert Thomson Leiper in 1915.

O. viverrini (together with Clonorchis sinensis and Opisthorchis felineus) is one of the three most medically important species in the family Opisthorchiidae. In fact O. viverrini and C. sinensis are capable of causing cancer in humans, and are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a group 1 biological carcinogen in 2009. O. viverrini is found in Thailand, the Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. It is most widely distributed in northern Thailand, with high prevalence in humans, while central Thailand has a low rate of prevalence.


Prionailurus is a genus of spotted, small wild cats native to Asia. Forests are their preferred habitat; they feed on small mammals, reptiles and birds, some also on aquatic wildlife.

Rue du Chat-qui-Pêche

Rue du Chat-qui-Pêche is considered the narrowest street in Paris. It is only 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in) wide for the whole of its 29 m (95 ft) length.

It is located in the 5th arrondissement, on the Rive Gauche of the Seine, and runs from Quai Saint-Michel to Rue de la Huchette,

San Francisco Zoo

The San Francisco Zoo is a 100-acre (40 ha) zoo located in the southwestern corner of San Francisco, California, between Lake Merced and the Pacific Ocean along the Great Highway. The zoo's main entrance, once located on the north side across Sloat Boulevard and one block south of the Muni Metro L Taraval line, is now to the west on the ocean side of the zoo off of the Great Highway.

This zoo is the birthplace of Koko the gorilla, and, since 1974, the home of Elly, the oldest black rhinoceros in North America. It houses more than 1000 individual animals representing over 250 species, as of 2016.

Si Nan National Park

Si Nan National Park (Thai: อุทยานแห่งชาติศรีน่าน) is a national park in Thailand's Nan Province. This mountainous park is home to steep cliffs and a long section of the Nan River.

Wildlife of Pakistan

The wildlife of Pakistan comprises a diverse flora and fauna in a wide range of habitats from sea level to high elevation areas in the mountains, including 177 mammal and 660 bird species. This diverse composition of the country's fauna is associated with its location in the transitional zone between two major zoogeographical regions, the Palearctic, and the Oriental.

Wildlife of Tamil Nadu

There are more than 2000 species of fauna that can be found in Tamil Nadu. This rich wildlife is attributed to the diverse relief features as well as favorable climate and vegetation in the Indian state. Recognizing the state's role in preserving the current environment, the government has established several wildlife and bird sanctuaries as well as national parks, which entail stringent protective measures. Tamil Nadu is also included in the International Network of Biosphere Reserves, which facilitates international recognition and additional funding. Currently, there are five national parks and 17 sanctuaries that serve as homes to the wildlife.

Extant Carnivora species

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