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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 ?
This microplate was then used to attach our transnasal wire in a posterior and superior relation to the lacrimal fossa. Relating the position of the posterior lacrimal crest with the uninvolved side, we then took a hand drill with a 1.5-mm drill bit and fashioned a through-and-through tunnel that exited near the superior portion of the lacrimal fossa on the contralateral side.
We then tightened the wire around the screw in the contralateral orbit until the canthus was restored in the posterior and superior position relative to the lacrimal fossa. Externally, we retested the medial canthus and found that it was completely immobile and solid against the miniplate.
We directed our drilling from a position posterior and superior to the lacrimal fossa on the involved side to the superior portion of the lacrimal fossa between the anterior and posterior lacrimal crests on the contralateral side, while noting the level of the anterior ethmoid artery.
The age of patients diagnosed with lacrimal fossa lesions spanned from 5 years old to 74 years old.
Pathological Profiles of Lacrimal Fossa Lesions in 31 Patients
A Kerrison's punch forceps is utilized to start removing the stronger portion of bone in the lacrimal fossa. 5mmDCR burr (Xomed microdebridor) was used in most of the cases to expose the lacrimal sac adequately.
Lamina papyraceae, parchment like bone of the posterior half of the lacrimal fossa was fractured with smaller end of the blunt dissector.
In some cases to remove the maxillary portion of the lacrimal fossa that has thick bone, a septal chisel or otologic burr was used.
Exposure of the sac: The lacrimal fascia was splitted from anterior lacrimal crest and the sac was separated from lacrimal fossa posteriorly upto posterior lacrimal crest, superiorly upto fundus and inferiorly upto the junction of nasolacrimal duct.the sac was then retracted exposing the entire lacrimal fossa.
In case of Toti's procedure, the medial wall of the lacrimal sac was excised, the lacrimal fossa and anterior lacrimal crest exposed and removed.
Reflection of periosteum and dissection of lacrimal sac from lacrimal fossa was done.