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fossa, carnivorous mammal, Cryptoprocta ferox, of Madagascar. The island's largest carnivore, the fossa resembles a puma in appearance and has semiretractable claws, but it is most closely related to Madagascar's other native carnivores and to the mongoose and civet. 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 Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Eupleridae.

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(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.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A pit or depression.
(vertebrate zoology)
Cryptoprocta ferox. A Madagascan carnivore related to the civets.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
A 71-year-old woman was referred to our otorhinolaryngology service for evaluation of a painful mass in the right nasal fossa that had developed 1 month earlier.
Tuberculosis of the nasal fossa manifested by a polypoid mass.
The patency of DCR is checked by passing lacrimal probe into nose via the inferior canaliculus, which is seen in the nasal fossa. The mucosal flap is then repositioned with the intent to cover as much denuded bone as possible.
Second, lactose is insufflated into the nasal fossa and rhinomanometry is repeated.
In a review of 152 benign and malignant neurilemmomas of head and neck, Kragh described five in the nasal fossa and antral region (7).
In fact, cases of malignant schwannoma have been reported in the submandibular, zygomatic, and buccal areas, in the maxillary sinus, in the nasal fossa, in the esophagus, in the thoracic vagus, in the ileal loop, in the frontoethmoid complex, and in the breast.
On nasal examination, abundant crusts and a purulent secretion were present in the nasal fossa, but no ulcers or bullae were found.
The height of the chair was adjusted to bring the floor of the nasal fossa to the level of the Hopkins 4 mm 0[degrees] endoscope, which was connected to a video camera with a C-ring.