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carnivorous mammal, Cryptoprocta ferox, of Madagascar. The island's largest carnivore, the fossa resembles a pumapuma
or cougar
, New World member of the cat family, Puma concolor. Also known as mountain lion, catamount, panther, and painter, it ranges from S British Columbia to the southern tip of South America. The puma is slenderly built, with a lionlike face.
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 in appearance and has semiretractable claws, but it is most closely related to Madagascar's other native carnivores and to the mongoosemongoose,
name for a large number of small, carnivorous, terrestrial Old World mammals of the civet family. They are found in S Asia and in Africa, with one species extending into S Spain.
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 and civetcivet
or civet cat,
any of a large group of mostly nocturnal mammals of the Old World family Viverridae (civet family), which also includes the mongoose. Civets are not true cats, but the civet family is related to the cat family (Felidae).
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. Its slender body may be more than 5 ft (1.5 m) long including the tail, which makes up about half of the total length, and the largest males may weigh as much as 26 lb (12 kg). The female is somewhat smaller. The coat is generally reddish brown above and cream below.

The fossa is found in both humid and dry forests and is an agile climber. A generally solitary animal, it preys on lemurs, wild pigs, and other mammals as well as fish and birds; it hunts by ambush. During mating season several males compete for a female, who rests high in a tree; the tree may be used for mating, and then used as a mating ground by another female when the first leaves. There are two to four young in a litter. The young are blind and helpless when born, and remain the mother for about a year and a half. Largely because of habitat destruction, the fossa is endangered.

The fossa is classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Eupleridae.


(foss -ă) (plural: fossae) a long narrow shallow depression. The word is used in the approved name of such a surface feature on a planet or satellite.



(Cryptoprocta ferox), a predatory mammal of the family Viverridae. The body measures as much as 76 cm in length and as much as 37 cm in height; the tail measures approximately 65 cm in length. The fossa, the largest predator of the island of Madagascar, has a massive body with relatively long, thick extremities and semiretractile claws. It somewhat resembles a cat, but the head is longer. The fur is short, smooth, and reddish brown.

The fossa inhabits forests and feeds on birds and small mammals. It is terrestrial but may climb trees when chasing lemurs. It is active at night. The animal attacks domestic fowl and young domestic swine.


Mammals of the World, vol. 2. Baltimore, Md., 1964.


A pit or depression.
(vertebrate zoology)
Cryptoprocta ferox. A Madagascan carnivore related to the civets.
References in periodicals archive ?
In this particular case, the retrograde ureteropyelogram demonstrated the kidney was transplanted upside down in the iliac fossa.
Two weeks postoperatively, the scar in the left iliac fossa region broke down, resulting in the steady discharge of purulent fluid.
On examination the abdomen was found to be slightly distended with right-sided tenderness maximally in the right iliac fossa.
e: endoscope; EPI: epigastric port (arrows show that a single port can be used for both nephrectomies); RIF: right iliac fossa; LIF: left iliac fossa.
Although some hazards are recognised, the true incidence of the adverse effects was unknown until an investigation by members of the British Society of Haematologists, (1) prompted by the death of a patient in 2001 as a result of retroperitoneal haemorrhage after an aspirate and a trephine biopsy from the posterior iliac fossa.
A 45-year-old woman with ESRD secondary to ADPKD was evaluated for native nephrectomy due to insufficient space within the iliac fossa for renal transplantation (Fig.
The tumor was inseparable from the iliopsoas muscle complex and was seen predominantly in the left iliac fossa and lumbar region (Figure 2B).
4) Radiological signs that point to an appendicular pathology should be sought, namely calcified faecolith, disappearance of the lateral border of the ipsilateral psoas muscle, and replacement of the usual grainy pattern of caecal content with a ground-glass appearance in the right iliac fossa.
Immediately after the injection of atoxysclerol, the patient reported intense pain in the left iliac fossa and flank and so the procedure was interrupted.
On examination the patient seemed well, but her abdomen was distended and tender in the suprapubic, left and right iliac fossa regions.
A repeat CT scan with contrast demonstrated persistent intramural air with new retroperitoneal air tracking up the right iliac fossa (Fig.
Ileocecal junction, caecum and appendix was in left iliac fossa.