Genus: Prionailurus (Total members of this genus: Leopard cat, Iriomote cat, Flatheaded cat, Rusty Spotted cat, and Fishing cat)
Species: Prionailurus viverrinus
The Fishing Cat is a water loving wild cat like its cousin the Flat-headed cat. The fishing cat pretty much lives exclusively along rivers, streams and mangrove swamps and it is a great swimmer. It is lives in Southeast Asia, eastern India, Bangledesh, Sri Lanka, and the Himalayan foothills of India and Nepal, at elevations up to 5,000 ft (1500 m). It’s also been spotted in a couple national parks in Cambodia. It is believed they are probably extinct in China. Malaysia, and Afghanistan. As of 2015 they are listed by the IUCN as Endangered because their wetland habitat has been disappearing and getting polluted.
Luckily, the Fishing Cat is protected by national legislation over most of its range. Hunting is prohibited in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand. Hunting regulations apply in Lao PDR. In Bhutan and Vietnam, the species is not protected outside protected areas. Also, Fishing cat captive breeding programs have been set up by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria and the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
These cats adore the water, can swim long distances, and can even swim underwater. Their head-to-body length typically ranges from 57–78 cm (22–31 in) and they weigh from 5–16 kg (11–35 lb). The Fishing cat has buff colored underfur and prominent black spots along its body. It has a flat sloping head typical of water hunting cats, with really close together eyes-it almost looks like a saber tooth tiger minus the fangs and heavier jaw. They are a solid looking cat though, about twice the size of house cat generally.
They have a little webbing between their digits and their claws do not fully retract. They are solitary creatures and hunt mostly at night. They make a kind of chuckling sound, as well as other domestic cat type sounding noises.
Fish is their main prey. A study of their scats (wild animal poop) at India’s Keoladeo National Park showed that fish comprised approximately three-quarters of the diet, with the remainder consisting of birds, insects, and small rodents. Molluscs, small reptiles, amphibians and even cattle carcasses supplemented their diet. They hunt along the edges of watercourses, grabbing prey from the water, and sometimes diving in to catch prey further from the banks. They live for up to ten years in captivity.