At first glimpse, a fossa looks a lot like a cat. However, their small rounded ears resemble those of a weasel, and when you catch a sight of its long tail high up in the trees, you might be reminded of a monkey. So we know it's very easy to be confused when looking at a fossa! Even scientists have struggled with their classification. Although the fossa shares some adaptive similarities with cats, the fossa is a member of Eupleridae, which is closely related to the mongoose family (Herpestidae).
Fossa have a short and rather dense coat, usually a rich brown color with a lighter-colored belly. The fossa's tail is very long and makes up about half of the animal's length which helps them to balance when climbing in trees. They also have retractable claws like a cat with flexible ankle joints that enable the fossa to climb down a tree headfirst. While fossa spends a great deal of time in the trees (arboreal), they are equally happy running flat footed along the ground (terrestrial).
The IUCN lists fossa as Vulnerable. The current population is decreasing.
Major threats include hunting for food, persecution, and the loss and fragmentation of forest habitat caused by deforestation for conversion to agricultural land and pastures.