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Fishing cats, the largest of the Prionailurus cats are approximately twice the size of a domestic cat. They possess a solid, muscular build with short to medium legs. Their thick fur is olive-grey with dark spots set in horizontal streaks running along the length of the body. The face is long with a markedly flat nose and ears set far back on the head. Their underside is white, and the back of their ears are black with central white spots. There is a pair of dark stripes around the esophagus, and a few black rings on the tail. Their head-to-body length characteristically ranges from 22-31 inches with a short tail ranging from 7.9 to 11, 8 inches, which is about one half to one third the length of the rest of the feline? They weigh from 11–35 pounds. Their face is spotted and their ears are short and rounded. Black spots run lengthwise across the body, and six to eight dark stripes run from behind the eyes to the nape. Their base fur is longer and often overlaid with spots. Webbed feet have repeatedly been noted as a characteristic of the fishing cat..

Fishing cats are largely though discontinuously distributed in Asia, and are mainly found in the Terai region of the Himalayan foothills in India and Nepal, in Eastern India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

These special cats are very much at home in the water and can swim long distances--even under water. Females have been reported to range over areas from1.5 to 2.3 square miles while males range over 6.2 to 8.5 square miles. Adults have been observed to make a "chortling" sound

Fish is their main prey, one study found that fish comprised about three-quarters of the diet, with the remainder consisting of insects, birds, small mammals, mollusks, and reptiles. They hunt along the edges of watercourses, snatching prey from the water, and from time to time dive right in to catch quarry further from the banks.

Fishing cats can mate at any time of the year, though most frequently between January and February. The female builds a den in an isolated area like a dense thicket of reeds, and gives birth to two to three kittens after a gestation period of 63–70 days. The kittens weigh about 6 ounces at birth, and are able to energetically move around by the age of one month. They begin to play in water and to take solid food at around two months, but are not completely weaned until they are six months. They reach full adult size at approximately eight and a half months, attain their adult canine teeth at eleven months, and are sexually mature at fifteen months. They can live for up to ten years in captivity.

Fishing cat are endangered because of their dependence on wetlands, which are progressively more being settled and converted for agricultural use, and because of human over-exploitation of local fish stocks as well.


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