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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 ?
Guide wire was removed and humeral driver was attached to the jig and nail was advanced by gentle tapping until it is 1 to 2 cm proximal to olecranon fossa.
With flexion and extension of the elbow, the cyst was seen to swing directly into the olecranon fossa and simulate locking (Fig.
Injection of local anaesthetic and corticosteroid into the olecranon fossa is effective in many cases.
One must be certain that no posterior pathology is present, as the olecranon fossa cannot be visualized with the anterior approach.
The distal limit was confirmed under the image intensifier to be 2cms proximal to the olecranon fossa and proximally the nail was confirmed to be flush with the entry portal or countersunk.
In the posterior compartment, the surgeon may find extensive scarring and osteophytes in the olecranon fossa, which should be resected.
25 mm diameter k wire is inserted laterally through the lateral epicondyle crossing just lateral to the olecranon fossa and engaging the medial cortex.
Disadvantages include the proximity of the brachial artery and median nerve to the dissection and the inability to visualize posterior pathology in the olecranon fossa.
Additionally the plate has as angular offset, which allows it to contour to the postero lateral column, thereby avoiding impingement on the olecranon fossa.
In this method with distal end of guide wire 1 to 2 cm proximal to olecranon fossa, overlapped with a second guide wire under image intensifier.
In distal humeral shaft fractures especially fractures at metaphyseal junction, this becomes problematic because plates of adequate length can impinge on the olecranon fossa.