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The Fishing Cat of Sri Lanka

Often spotted in the streams, swamps, and mangroves of Kumana and Wilpattu, the elusive Sri Lankan fishing cat, as its name suggests, primarily preys on fish, with the remainder of its diet consisting of birds, insects, and small rodents.

Thought to be nocturnal, these lithe predators are capable of swimming for extended periods of time, and appear to be particularly comfortable in and around water. However, with their ashen coats, whiskered faces, and rounded ears, one may mistake fishing cats for North American bobcats, as both bear remarkable resemblances to each other.
Quite like the other members of the feline family, adult fishing cats tend to be solitary creatures. If they are accompanied by more of their kind, their companions are likely to be their kittens and dependent young. Interestingly enough, their kittens are able to play in water and gnaw on solid food when they are about two months old, but they only reach full adult size after eight months have passed since their birth.

 Presently listed as a ‘vulnerable’ species on the IUCN Red List, these Sri Lankan fishing cats remain threatened by the destruction and pollution of wetlands, alongside the conversion of land for human settlements. Though hunting these felines is strictly prohibited, there are instances in which they have been slaughtered by humans for retaliatory measures. However, in Sri Lanka, these animals are protected within the national parks that they reside in.

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If you are interested in bearing witness to the beauty of this lithe predator