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Prionailurus viverrinus

(Chat P?cheur)


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Threat status

Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Chinese:

Yu Mao

Common Names in Dutch:


Common Names in English:

Fishing Cat

Common Names in French:

Chat P?cheur, Chat pêcheur

Common Names in Spanish:

Gato pescador


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Ecology: Fishing Cats are strongly associated with wetland. They are typically found in swamps and marshy areas, oxbow lakes , reed beds , tidal creeks and mangrove areas and are more scarce around smaller, fast-moving watercourses . Along watercourses they have been recorded at elevations up to 1,525 m , but most records are from lowland areas. Although fishing cats are widely distributed through a variety of habitat types (including both evergreen and tropical dry forest : Rabinowitz and Walker 1991), their occurrence tends to be highly localized (Nowell and Jackson 1996).

Fishing cats are good swimmers, and unlike most other small cats may prey primarily on fish rather than small mammals. A one-year study of scats in India's Keoladeo National Park found that fish comprised 76% of the diet , followed by birds (27%), insects (13%) and small rodents last (9%) (Haque and Vijayan 1993). Molluscs , reptiles and amphibians are also taken (Haque and Vijayan 1993, Mukherjee 1989). However, they are capable of taking large mammal prey, including small chital fawns (Nowell and Jackson 1996, Sunquist and Sunquist 2002), and have been seen scavenging livestock carcasses and tiger kills (Nowell and Jackson 1996). Predation on small domestic livestock and dogs has also been reported (Nowell and Jackson 1996).

The only radio-telemetry study took place in Nepal's Chitwan National Park in the early 1990s. Cats were active only at night and spent most of their time in dense tall and short grasslands, sometimes well away from water. Home ranges of three females were 4?6 km²; that of a single male was larger at 16?22 km² (JLD Smith pers comm. in Sunquist and Sunquist 2002).

Fishing cats have been observed in degraded habitats, such as near aquaculture ponds with little vegetation outside the Indian city of Calcutta (P. Sanyal in Anon. 1989).[1].

List of Habitats:


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Name Status: Accepted Name .

First described: Bennett E. T. Aphrophora goudoti nov. sp. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. London, 14: 9-521., 1833.

Last scrutiny: 15-Aug-2007

Placed in Prionailurus according to genetic analysis (Johnson et al. 2006, O'Brien and Johnson 2007, Eizirik et al. submitted ). No modern analysis of subspecies available.[1].

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Prionailurus

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 8 species and subspecies in this genus:

P. bengalensis (Philippine Cat) · P. bengalensis bengalensis (Ischer De Waldheim) · P. bengalensis iriomotensis (Iriomote Cat) · P. bengalensis rabori (Visayan Leopard Cat) · P. iriomotensis (Iriomote Cat) · P. planiceps (Flat-Headed Cat) · P. rubiginosus (Rusty-Spotted Cat) · P. viverrinus (Fishing Cat)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal February 29, 2008:



  1. Mukherjee, S., Sanderson, J., Duckworth, W., Melisch, R., Khan, J., Wilting, A., Sunarto, S. & Howard, J.G. 2010. Prionailurus viverrinus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <>. Downloaded on 04 February 2012. [back]
Last Revised: 2014-05-07