The fishing cat has a very unusual feature for cats – he cannot imagine life without the water element, of which he is the conqueror. This is a very beautiful, independent and graceful animal, preferring life in secluded places. Recently, some exotic lovers have begun to keep a fishing cat as a pet, although his character is very difficult, and not everyone can fully cope with his independence.
Origin type and description
The cat has There are many names for the angler:
- fish cat;
- speckled cat;
- civer cat;
- Asian fish cat.
The spotted cat is called because of its fur, which is covered with dark spots (speckles). He acquired the adjective “viverrid” to his name, because. Outwardly, it is very similar to the predator civet (viverra), which lives in the subtropics. This predator of the feline family leads a rather secretive and solitary life, living where a person often cannot get.
Little is known about the history of the origin of this feline species. It is only clear that the predator avoids communication with people, has a wild and unbridled disposition. The very name of this animal speaks not only of its taste preferences, but also of its favorite habitats, where water should always be nearby.
Zoologists distinguish two varieties of these interesting baleen predators. Both of them have almost no differences in appearance, only their dimensions distinguish them. Cats settled in the south, southeast of Asia and on the island of Sumatra inclusive, are much larger than their fellow tribesmen living in Bali and Java. The population of these unusual cats is very small, animals keep aloof, so until now very little is known about their wild lifestyle.
Many characteristic features and habits have been studied only on specimens that live in captivity. This genus of oriental cats is special, differing in many ways from ordinary felines. Let's try to understand in more detail the individual nuances and learn as much as possible about the life of this mysterious cat.
Appearance and features
The fish cat looks very attractive, which is typical of almost the entire cat family. This strong and purposeful predator has rather large dimensions. The weight of males reaches 15 kg, and females – up to 10. The whole body of the cat is very muscular and trained, it is immediately clear that this is a tireless and dexterous hunter. The body, together with the tail, reaches a length of 1.2 m. The girth of the tail is the same from the very base to the end.
The head of a cat-fisherman is rather big with a wide muzzle. If you look in profile, you can see that the bridge of the nose almost does not stand out, which makes the face flattened. The nose of the animal is very wide, this helps him when diving and being in the water. And he’s just an excellent diver, it’s amazing that a cat can take a deep breath and, while diving, hold his breath. The ears of the predator are neat, rounded, slightly pressed to the head. The eyes are deep, expressive, showing independence and self-confidence, the pupils are located vertically. The jaw apparatus of such cats is very powerful, it is immediately clear that they have a bulldog grip.
Tireless warriors by nature, cats have large, muscular and squat paws. The main feature of these powerful paws is the presence of membranes, thanks to which the cat swims like an experienced diver. All because of the same membranes, the claws of the fisherman are not retracted, like those of other cats. Having such powerful clawed paws and a brave disposition, cats are not afraid to confront even heavier predators and often win victories in such unequal fights.
Nature endowed the fishing cat with camouflage coloring so that in the thickets it merges with the environment. The main background of the coat is gray with a slightly yellowish tinge. It depicts a bright and contrasting pattern in the form of black dots and stripes. There are beautiful bright stripes on the forehead, on the nape and tail, on the rest of the body there are dark spots. The fur coat of cats is not only warm and dense, but also water-repellent. The coat itself is densely padded, short and slightly rough.
Where does the fishing cat live?
If you are pursuing the goal of meeting a fishing cat in the places of its permanent deployment, then this task is almost impossible. This predator is so cautious that it is unlikely to make itself felt, being even a few meters away from you, sociability is not his forte. Still, it is easy to assume that, based on the name, this animal gives its preference to water, therefore it has a permanent residence permit near water bodies.
It is not for nothing that this cat is called fish and Asian, because it inhabits Asia, or rather, its southeast.
The viverra cat-fisher lives in:
- on the Hindustan Peninsula;
- Sri Lanka;
The fish cat takes a fancy to the swampy area, overgrown with impassable bushes, dense forests. Predators love to live in thickets of reeds, in tidal zones of streams, in mangroves, near small forest lakes and streams. They are also found at a decent height (about 2 km) in the forests of the Himalayas.
In general, the cat-fisherman is settled in the subtropics of the Asian region. The main arguments in choosing the place of its deployment are the presence of the water element and a thick thicket where you can lead a secluded and independent life. No matter how sad it sounds, but the number of these amazing animals is very small, so you won’t meet them, viverrid fishing cats are under the threat of complete extinction, which cannot be allowed.
Photo: Cat- angler
Naturally, the main menu of such a cat is fish. In addition to fish, a cat can absorb frogs, crustaceans, snails, crabs, snakes, all kinds of insects and rodents. He also likes to eat birds. A predator can also hunt larger animals, such as: a dog, a calf, a sheep. The cat will not refuse the carrion left after the meal of large predators.
Scientists conducted studies of the animal's excrement and, according to the analysis, found out that, after all, about 75 percent of the cat's diet is fish. Only one fish, not counting other food sources, an adult cat eats about one and a half kilograms per day. During the tests, grass was also noticed in the diet, apparently, it serves as a source of vital vitamins for the cat's body.
It has not been thoroughly studied, but there is an assumption that the lifestyle of animals is nocturnal, fishing occurs mainly at dusk. The cat has many different tricks for successful fishing. Sometimes he can just wait for the fish, hiding on the shore near the water, then with lightning speed he rushes into the water and the prey is on a hook or on a claw. Another technique is walking in shallow water and catching small fish with powerful paws. For larger prey, the cat goes swimming and, diving deep, gets a weighty catch.
The spotted cat has one more trick – it lures the fish, making light movements along the upper surface of the water, imitating insects on the surface of the water, the fish often leads to this and again falls into the tenacious paws of a skilled mustachioed fisherman.
In addition to various creatures that live in the water, striped hunters also pose a threat to waterfowl. In order to catch them, they dive deep in advance, swim under water the distance to the bird itself and already from the depth grab it right by the paws. Land hunting is also good for these confident and courageous food seekers. The cat-fisherman is not only an excellent swimmer, but also an agile tree frog, although trees attract him much less than body of water.
Sometimes, when things are very tight with food, cats can attack poultry and small livestock , but this situation rarely happens, the cat shuns a person and is engaged in robbery and robbery only out of great need in order to survive. Only one thing can be said with certainty, that hunting is in the blood of this brave and tireless predator!
Peculiarities of character and lifestyle
The way of life of fishing cats is not quite normal, compared to other varieties of cats. The whole point here is the love for the water element, which serves as a source of constant food. The animal is very strong, hardy, has excellent hearing and sharp eyesight (even at night), endowed with the talent of an excellent swimmer – all these features describe the character and disposition of this predator.
It can be said that his disposition is unsociable, life is secretive and wary, habits are predatory, and character is cocky, courageous and fearless. The freedom-loving disposition of the cat can be caught only at the slightest glance at this amazing daredevil. Sometimes his recklessness and courage are simply amazing.
An interesting incident, confirming the strength, power and incredible courage of this animal, occurred in one of the zoos where the viverra cat lived. Once he escaped from his cage and ended up in an enclosure with a leopard, a fight between two cats was simply inevitable. As a result, all those who watched were struck by its result – the angler won an unquestioning victory, and the larger leopard died.
Like all cats, civet cats are a little lazy and love to sleep sweetly, stretching out in places hidden from frequent vegetation. They can hunt during the day, but they prefer twilight time. Powerful males clearly delimit their territories. Sometimes disputes and misunderstandings arise because of it, fights also occur, but cats do not inflict severe injuries on each other. It often happens that conflict situations are settled peacefully through negotiations, and the mustachios like to communicate with each other, making various sounds:
Each of these sound instruments emphasizes a certain mood in which the animal is at a given time . In general, the saying: there is strength – no mind is needed, does not correspond to fishing cats. They can perfectly agree among themselves and without any fights and merciless fights, although cowardice is not inherent in these animals at all.
Social structure and reproduction
There is very little information about the reproduction and habits of wild fishing cats during this period, this aspect has been little studied, so there are much more assumptions than substantiated facts. It is known that there is no specific mating season for cats. They can breed all year round. Animals become sexually mature by the age of nine months.
Pregnancy in a female proceeds for over sixty days. Babies can be born from 1 to 4 pieces. It usually happens that two or three kittens are born. Kittens are born blind and weigh from 70 to 170 grams. each, their development is not so fast. For each day they live, they gain only 10-11 grams in weight, they begin to see clearly by sixteen days of age.
For the first month and a half, the cat mother treats the children with her milk, then they taste meat, but milk and continue to use it. A cat's mother stops breastfeeding her cubs closer to the age of six months. By nine months, kittens become quite adults, their height and weight reach the parameters of their parents. Soon they leave their mother, leaving in search of their own separate territory for permanent residence.
Based on observations of domesticated fishing cats, it can be seen that the male makes his unbearable contribution to the upbringing of his offspring, caring for the babies on a par with the mother. How a cat behaves in the wild in relation to its offspring is still not known. Perhaps, in natural harsh conditions, their views on raising offspring change dramatically. It is worth noting that in natural conditions, fishing cats live up to 12 years, and in captivity their life is much longer (even more than 20 years).
Natural enemies of fishing cats
Apparently, the cocky and assertive nature of the fishing cats is known throughout the district, where they are known as fearless bullies, so they have practically no ill-wishers in the wild. Here you can call a leopard, which is much larger, but sometimes he himself flees. In general, from more weighty predatory animals, fishing cats with dexterity slip away, both into the water and into the trees, it is not easy to catch them. Smaller predators prefer not to mess with mustachioed fishermen, knowing about their recklessness, fearlessness and power.
Still, the main threat to these amazing creatures is people. As a result of their activities, they destroy the swampy areas that these cats choose. This is done by a person, clearing the territory for the construction of dwellings, the construction of agricultural land, polluting the atmosphere. Uncontrolled fishing and hunting also have a bad effect on the life of the cat, leading to a lack of food. In such extreme cases, the animal is forced to go on a robbery, where it can also die from human hands. As a result of all this, the number of fishing cats is very small, its growth is not observed, and the animal is threatened with complete extinction.
Population and species status
A rare fishing cat can become a legend if a person does not think about his harmful activities that affect many animals. The population of this cat species has declined so much that the threat of its extinction is more urgent than ever. Fishing cats are dying out due to unfavorable environmental conditions, due to the destruction of swamps, deforestation. Often, animals do not have enough food due to mass hunting and fishing. Hunting activities to exterminate fishing cats because of their fur and fangs also brought their negative and depressing results.
Protection of fishing cats
The fishing cat is considered a rare animal, listed in the International Red Book, the destruction of which is strictly prohibited. The population status of these animals is rather deplorable. There is evidence that its total number does not exceed 10,000 mature individuals. The main reason for this disappointing situation is the destruction of wetlands by people. Scientists are sounding the alarm, because this amazing and little-studied feline species may completely disappear, so a person should use every opportunity so that the situation does not become irreversible!
Maybe for someone the phrase fisherman cat sounds funny and fabulous, but they really exist, and to the surprise of other felines, they are not at all afraid of water! And professional fishermen can only envy their dexterity and skill! It's hard to believe, but this amazing species of cats remains a mystery to researchers to this day. There are two reasons for this – their incredible secrecy and their very small numbers. No matter how sad it sounds, it is the person who, often, behaves selfishly, without thinking about the consequences, is involved in the last reason.