Fishing cat

At the Cincinnati Zoo

As its name implies, the favored prey of the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is fish. While most cats are built for running with long legs and a long tail, the stocky fishing cat is built more for strong swimming with short, powerful limbs, and a rudder-like tail. Hunting methods include scooping prey out of the water with its slightly webbed paws and catching prey in its jaws while swimming. One particularly skilled technique it uses is to swim underwater and attack unsuspecting ducks from below as they surface.

The fishing cat has also been observed to tap the surface of the water lightly as it searches for prey, perhaps to mimic insects and attract fish. The fishing cat wears a coat of fur designed for an aquatic lifestyle with a dense waterproof inner layer and a protective outer layer of long, coarse hair.Like most other cats, the fishing cat is solitary and nocturnal.


  • Height: 1.8 to 2.8 ft
  • Weight: 12 to 17.5 lbs
  • Lifespan: Up to 10 yrs in captivity
  • Range: Southeastern Asia
  • Habitat: Wetland, grassland, and forest
  • Diet: Fish, small mammals, birds, insects, and crustaceans
  • Risk Status: Species at Risk (IUCN-Vulnerable)
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