Cryptoprocta spelea   (Grandidier)

Giant Fossa
(Cryptoprocta spelea)

syn. -



local name:

Fosa Mainty (?) (Malagasy)

size: ca. 2 m (length)

extinction date: (?)

The Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox (Bennett)) is Madagascar's largest indigenous carnivorous mammal. It preferably preys on almost all lemur species, but is also able to catch nearly all others of the still living native animal species of the island.

The Fossa belongs now to the endangered species.


The Giant Fossa was scientifically described in the year 1902 on the basis of subfossil bones.

In some places of Madagascar the native people still distinguish between the Fosa Mena (Red Fossa), which is the common Fossa and the so called Fosa Mainty (Black Fossa), which is said to be much larger than the common Fossa.

The now extinct species was indeed about a third larger than the still living one and may have reached a length of slightly more than 2 m.


scull of a Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), the nearest living relative of the Giant Fossa

Depiction from: 'M. Milne Edwards: Annales des Sciences Naturelles. Zoologie et Paléontologie; comprenant l'Anatomie, la Physiologie, la Classification et l'histoire Naturelle des Animaux Vol. 7. Paris; Victor Masson et Fils, Place de L'ecole-de Médicine, 1867'


- Steven M. Goodman; Rodin M. Rasoloarison; Jörg U. Ganzhorn: On the specific identification of subfossil Cryptoprocta (Mammalia, Carnivora) from Madagascar. Zoosystema 26(1): 129-143. 2004