A medium sized wild cat of the wetlands of south and southeast Asia, the Fishing Cat is another unique example of the great abilities and diversities of the cat family. Found in a range extending from Indochina, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Sumatra and Java it inhabits mainly water bound areas including rivers, mangrove swamps, creeks and thickets up to a height of five thousand feet.
Somewhat similar to other wild cats of this size, the Fishing Cat has a broad head, short tail and sturdy built. Coat is marked by dark spots that may form stripes over spine. Ears are short and round while the nose is of a flattened appearance. Feet are somewhat webbed that enables the Fishing Cat to maintain a degree of traction on slippery muds, though it is now believed the webbing is not of any extraordinary extent. Claws are semi-retractable - again probably an adaptation for a greater hold on the surface. Size varies according to the distribution of the felid. The Indian Fishing Cat is bigger with length around four feet and weight approximately twenty five pounds, whereas the Indonesian cats, in the southeastern part of the cat's overall global range, are smaller with an average length of three feet and weight nearing twelve pounds.
Prionailurus Viverrinus, the Fishing Cat is a hunter mostly of aquatic animals, specializing in fish, frogs, mollusks and snakes. At the same time it does not spare terrestrial prey including rodents, deer, goats, dogs and even small wild boars! The opportunistic cat has also been known to go after birds and kills of other predators.
Solitary cats, they come in unison for mating primarily. Pregnancy lasts around two months after which a litter of one to five kittens is born. They are weaned off after half an year at the most and gain independence after one year of age. Lifespan is generally around ten to twelve years in captivity.
Though the Fishing Cat is not yet endangered in the wild - it is certainly vulnerable. Threats include primarily habitat destruction for use of wetlands for agricultural purposes, pollution, deforestation, hunting and fishing by humans!