Wild Cat Species and Distribution - Asia
The Fishing Cat is to be found in a range that spreads form northern India, Sri Lanka, across Burma, the Thai peninsular and down to Sumatra and Java, where records show the cat populations to be in critical decline. Its is commonly found in areas near water, such as swamp land, marsh and general riverside terrain. It is a little larger than the Leopard Cat, which it may be said to resemble, however the fishing cat has a slightly larger head in relation to body size and a relatively shorter tail - the body is generally stocky and the legs shorter. The fur coloration is predominantly grey brown with smaller, less pronounced dark brown or black spotted markings. The forehead is marked distinctively with a pair of dark lines running from the top of the eyes up over the crown before breaking into more open marking on the shoulder.
As the name implies, the fishing cat is a proficient fisherman and is never found far from water - however the fishing cat shows a preference to slow moving or static water sources, swamp margins and wetlands over faster moving river or stream edges. Observations have been made of the fishing cat using two distinct techniques whilst fishing - firstly by taking fish with its paws from the waters edge and more radically by diving into the water to catch the fish with its jaws. Naturally the fishing cat is a strong swimmer but it does not posses webbed feet as has been suggested, however, in common with its close neighbour, the Flat-headed cat, the claws are not fully covered when retracted. Not all of the fishing cats prey is water based and its prey on dry land include rodents, young deer and small wild pig. Recent research of the fishing cats diet in India has revealed that grass also featured as part of the cats food source.
The fishing cat is threatened principally by loss of its wetlands habitat as well as by pollution and pesticide poisoning - hunting and trapping for its fur. Although the fishing cat is listed in CITES Appendix 2 the sub-species P.v.rizophoreus which is restricted to Java is under critical threat.
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Find the species by their continental distribution
Europe & Middle East
Body Length(mm) -700-850
Weight (kg) - 6-13 average
Litter Size - 2-3 average
Life Span - 12 years
Status - Near Threatened