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Felimalg

When humans appeared on the Madagascar, they heavily damaged if not outright destroyed the unique ecosystem of the island. The large animals became extinct due to the hunting and deforestation. Destroying of natural habitants at the end of the mankind era led to the extinction of fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), the largest predator of the island. The smaller viverrids survived but they have become mostly land-based predators or small climbing animals. The ecological niche of large climbing predator was given to another animal descending from domestic cat. It has developed a set of adaptation to hunt fast-climbing and careful prey and has become a beast who looks much like a huge marten. It’s felimalgasia, the domineering predator of forest canopy occupying the top of food chain. Felimalgasia spends almost all the time in the trees but sometimes gets down to the earth during the hunt. The build of the animal is adopted for fast movement in forest canopy. The legs of felimalgasia are relatively shorter than those of cats, the body is longer- the height of animal is only 50 cm while the length is up to 150 cm without the tail. The spine is incredibly flexible- the long neck permits to turn the head around on 180°, and before the jump the animal can fold itself in two. The long tail serves as balancing pole during the jumps, the movements of tail provide necessary balance. Small head with short stout is inherited from domestic cats. The ears are relatively wide, with rounded tips: the hearing of felimalgasia is very acute. The eyes in the front of head provide stereoscopic eyesight which is really important for tree-climbers. The mouth opens wide. The animal uses its columnar teeth to kill birds with relatively fragile bones, biting them through the spine or the base of scull. Big animals such as lemurs are killed with bites in the tissue of the neck while being held in place with paws. Felimalgasia has relatively good sense of smell, well-developed whiskers help the animal to orient in forest canopy even in the dark. The colour of fur serves camouflaging purposes. The main colour is a shade of yellow, it’s covered with multiple wide spots, forming long lengthwise stripes on head and neck. The pattern of spots is individual. On the tail stripes form rings and the main colour changes from yellow to white. With the stripy end of the tail felimalgasia sends visual signals to the others of her species, but that animal being solitary rarely has need for communication save for the mating season. The usual prey of felimalagasia is lemurs and birds; though sometimes it’s smaller animals such as frogs, lizards and even small insects. The animal tags its territory by tearing the rind of the trees with its claws. The territory of each adult animal is about 30 square cm. Only during the heat the female tags the territory with urine which has specific smell during that period. Felimalgasia rarely climbs down from the trees so the animal doesn’t dig its feces, but urinates and defecates from the trees and feces fall down to the ground. Because of that the inhabitants of forest canopy can’t detect its presence, and hunt in the underbush happens relatively rarely. The litter of female happens once in a year and includes up to 5 kittens, but only two or three of them reach maturity. The female makes its den in relatively large hollow or usurps big bird nest (for example the one of false macaws) which is adopted to suit its basic needs. The kittens are different from adults in colour, the dark spots on their fur are relatively bigger. The kittens stay with their mother till they’re 5 month old – usually by that time female has already mated with another male and is pregnant again. The maturity is reached at the age of 2 years; the life span of felimalgasia is up to 20 years.

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