(Last Updated On: October 9, 2021)

The Asian Fishing Cat, scientific name Prionailurus viverrinus is a medium-sized wild cat of South and Southeast Asia. Since 2016, it’s been listed as Weak on the IUCN Red List.

Asian Fishing Cat: Profile

Asian Fishing Cat populations are threatened by the destruction of wetlands and have declined severely during the last decade.

The fishing cat lives foremost within the neighborhood of wetlands, alongside rivers, streams, oxbow lakes, swamps, and mangroves.

The Asian Fishing Cat is a “small” cat of medium measurement and stocky construct, with quick legs and a brief tail, and a face that’s spherical however elongated.

Their scientific title comes from their viverrine or civet-like look fairly than any adaptation for fishing.

They have an olive-grey coat that has a sample of rows of parallel black spots which can usually type stripes on them again.

Females are noticeably smaller than males. A serious distinction between the fishing cat and its relations is that its claws don’t absolutely retract, the ideas remaining to protrude a bit off from the sheath of pores and skin they’ve on their toes, whereas most cats can retract their claws utterly when they aren’t utilizing them, in an effort to cease them from turning into a blunt.

Asian Fishing Cat Traits

The Asian Fishing Cat has deep yellowish-grey fur with black stains and spots. Two stripes are on the cheeks, and two above the eyes working to the neck with damaged strains on the brow. It has two rows of spots across the throat.

The spots on the shoulder are longitudinal, and people on the edges, limbs, and tail are roundish.

The background color of its fur varies between people from yellowish tawny to ashy gray, and the dimensions of the stripes from slim to broad. The fur on the stomach is lighter than on the again and sides.

The quick and rounded ears of the Asian Fishing Cat are set low on the top, and the again of the ears bear a white spot.

The tail is brief, lower than half the size of head and physique, and with a couple of black rings on the finish.

As an aquatic adaptation, the fur is layered. A brief, dense layer supplies a water barrier and thermal insulation, whereas one other layer of protruding lengthy guard hairs supplies its sample and shiny sheen.

The Asian Fishing Cat species is the most important of the Prionailurus cats. It’s about twice the dimensions of a home cat and stocky and muscular with medium to quick legs.

Its head-to-body size ranges from 57 to 78 cm (22 to 31 in), with a tail of 20 to 30 cm (7.9 to 11.8 in).

Feminine fishing cats vary in weight from 5.1 to 6.8 kg (11 to 15 lb), and males from 8.5 to 16 kg (19 to 35 lb). Its cranium is elongated, with a basal size of 123–153 mm (4.8–6.0 in) and a post-orbital width of 27–31 mm (1.1–1.2 in).

Its paws are much less utterly webbed than these of the leopard cat, and the claws are incompletely sheathed in order that they protrude barely when retracted.

Webbed feet have usually been famous as an attribute of the fishing cat, however, the webbing beneath the toes isn’t way more developed than that of a bobcat.

Distribution and habitat

The fishing cat is broadly however discontinuously distributed in South and Southeast Asia.

It’s strongly related to wetlands, inhabiting swamps and marshy areas around oxbow lakes, reed beds, tidal creeks, and mangrove forests; it appears much less ample round smaller, fast-moving watercourses. Most information is from lowland areas.

Fishing cats stay in separate populations in Southeast Asia, together with Sri Lanka and elements of Pakistan, in western India to southern China, Java, and Sumatra.

They stay largely in wetland areas, each swamp, and marshes. Fishing cats happen in closely forested areas alongside rivers or close to jungles. These cats additionally inhabit scrub areas, tidal creek areas, and reed beds.

In Pakistan’s Sindh Province, the fishing cat was recorded within the Chotiari Dam space in 2012.

Within the Nepal Terai, it has been recorded in Bardia, Chitwan, and Parsa Nationwide Parks and in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve.

Ecology and behavior

The fishing cat is considered primarily nocturnal and may be very a lot at dwelling close to water. It might swim long distances, even beneath the water. Grownup men and women without dependent younger are solitary.

Females have been reported to vary over areas of 4 to 6 km2 (1.5 to 2.3 sq mi), whereas males vary over 16 to 22 km2 (6.2 to 8.5 sq mi). Adults have been noticed to make a “chuckling” sound.

The Fishing cat is a solitary and nocturnal hunter that rests throughout the day amongst dense vegetation after which at evening heads to the water to seek out meals.

They’re extraordinarily robust and in position swimmers and might swim enormous distances, usually whereas pursuing a fish.

These animals are largely territorial and occupy dwelling ranges as giant as 22 sq. km (though females usually have ranges that might be a lot smaller). The territory of a male overlaps these of numerous females throughout the space.

Fishing cats are comparatively adaptable creatures and a few stay in metropolis suburbs near human settlements the place there’s little vegetation.

They convey with guttural growls, hisses, and a low, demanding meow. Throughout courtship, they make a sound that is named chittering.

asian fishing cat

Fishing cats have been noticed whereas searching alongside the sides of watercourses, grabbing prey from the water, and typically diving into the water to catch prey farther from the banks.

Their fundamental prey is fish; scat collected in India’s Keoladeo National Park revealed that fish contains roughly three-quarters of their weight-reduction plan, with the rest consisting of birds, bugs, and small rodents.

Mollusks, reptiles together with snakes, amphibians, and carrion of home cattle complement their weight-reduction plan.

They mark their territory utilizing cheek-rubbing, head rubbing, chin rubbing, neck rubbing, and urine-spraying to go away scent marks. Additionally, they sharpen their claws and show flehmen’s conduct.

Reproduction and improvement

Fishing cats are polygynous, with one male mating with a number of females. The breeding season is considered from January to February.

At the moment a feminine calls to the males within the space to point that she is prepared for mating. After the gestation of 60 to 70 days, 1 to Four kittens are born.

They develop quickly, and at around 16 days outdated they open their eyes. They begin consuming meat concerning the 53rd day and at Four to six months outdated they’re weaned.

They attain grownup measurement at 8 to 9 months outdated and are impartial when 10 months outdated. Males noticed in captivity assist females elevate the younger. At about 15 months outdated fishing cats are mature.

Wild Asian Fishing Cat almost certainly mates throughout January and February; most kittens within the wild had been noticed in March and April.

In captivity, the gestation interval lasts 63–70 days; females give beginning to 2 or three kittens.

They weigh around 170 g (6.0 oz) at birth and are in a position to actively transfer round by the age of 1 month.

They start to play in the water and to take stable meals when about two months outdated, however usually are not absolutely weaned till six months outdated.

They attain full grownup measurement when about eight and a half months outdated, purchase their grownup canine tooth by 11 months, and are sexually mature when roughly 15 months outdated. They stay as much as 10 years in captivity.

Asian Fishing Cat facts

  • Fishing cats in captivity have been seen taking cow’s meat to the water, dropping it in, after which taking it out and consuming it. When supplied stay quail, this identical washing conduct was noticed.
  • There isn’t proof to point out that the membrane between a Fishing cat’s toes is for the precise function of swimming.
  • Asian Fishing Cat has been recognized to swim underwater to seize the legs of a duck.
  • Fishing cats might look cute and cuddly however they are often very aggressive.
  • An Asian Fishing Cat’s ear incorporates 32 muscle tissues and might rotate virtually 180 levels, so without turning its head, it is ready to hear in a number of instructions.
  • When it swims, the Asian Fishing Cat is ready to use its flattened, quick tail like a rudder, to assist management of its course.
  • The Asian Fishing Cat by patting the water to make tiny waves as if bugs had been a touchdown on the water. Fish are drawn to this. When fish seem, the Fishing cat catches them in its paws or dives into the water to catch them.


The fishing cat is threatened by the destruction of wetlands, which are more and more being polluted and transformed for agricultural use and human settlements.

The conversion of mangrove forests to industrial aquaculture ponds is a serious menace in Andhra Pradesh, the place the focused killing of fishing cats can also be prevalent in the place there’s human/animal battle. Over-exploitation of native fish shares and retaliatory killing are additionally important threats.

In West Bengal’s Howrah district, 27 useless fishing cats had been recorded between April 2010 and Might 2011.

In Bangladesh, at the very least 30, fishing cats had been killed by native individuals in three years between January 2010 and March 2013.

Moreover, in research in Thailand, 84% of all fishing cats that had been tracked by way of radio collars had been killed – both because of poaching or unknown causes.

Inhabitants threats

The main menace to the Fishing cat is wetland destruction, with greater than 50% of Asian wetlands threatened and disappearing because of human settlement, air pollution, drainage for agriculture, wooden reduction, and extreme searching.

The Fishing cat’s fundamental prey has been enormously diminished by harmful fishing practices. Moreover, these cats in some elements of their vary are hunted for drugs, meals, and physique elements, and have additionally been killed for taking a home inventory.

Inhabitants quantity

There aren’t any estimates of inhabitants’ numbers for the Fishing cat. IUCN reporting a reducing inhabitants pattern for this species and it’s categorized as Endangered (EN) on the Checklist of Threatened Species.


Prionailurus viverrinus is and protected by nationwide laws over most of its vary. Looking is prohibited in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand.

Looking at laws that apply in Lao PDR. In Bhutan and Vietnam, the species isn’t protected exterior protected areas. Its survival relies on the safety of wetlands, the prevention of indiscriminate trapping, snaring, and poisoning.

In areas the place habitat degradation is a serious concern, similar to coastal Andhra Pradesh, NGOs are working to gradual habitat conversion in collaboration with native villagers.

A part of this work entails creating different livelihood packages that permit villagers to earn cash without damaging pure habitats.

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