Can You Own A Pet Fossa?

Do fossas make good pets? No, there are only a few species that are more terrible as pets. Fossas are demanding wild animals, most people wouldn’t be able to take proper care. Additionally, you can run into legal issues fast. Learn more about what it would be like to own a fossa in this article.

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Fossa looking into the camera

What Are Fossas?

Fossas, or Cryptoprocta ferox, are faszinating animals that look and move like felines. But unlike servals or ocelots, they are their own unique species and are actually more like mongooses.

They live only on Madagascar and are the largest endemic mammal on the island. As predators, fossas, are strict carnivores and hunt lemurs. Appr. 50 % of their diet consists of these monkeys, the other half is a mix of other mammals, birds and reptiles.

According to National Geographic, fossas can weigh up to 26 pounds and measure 6 feet from head to tail. So they aren’t the largest predators in the world and can be compared with a larger cat breed.

Watch the video below to see the fossa Hansel and his caretaker.

Is It Legal To Keep A Pet Fossa?

No, keeping fossas as pets is illegal in most countries of the world including the US and Canada. These animals are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. Let alone the import and transportation of this animal is regulated and you have to get a permit.

Additionally, you would need a permit or license to own a fossa as a pet, depending on the state you live in. To be sure you would have to call someone at your local department of wildlife. Restriction can be different on the county level or even city level.

If you need a permit it’s likely that you would have to show your knowledge of the species. Someone will also visit your place and look if everything meets the requirements.

That being said, there are also states within the USA where exotic animals aren’t banned at all, you don’t even need a permit. But it doesn’t change that wild animals, in general, make bad pets.

Fossas Aren’t Domesticated

Like all wild animals, fossas aren’t domesticated. This is one of the main reasons why they aren’t suitable pets for most people. Domestication has nothing to do with taming (which to a certain degree works with fossas).

House training isn’t possible with animals that aren’t domesticated. Your pet fossa will never learn how to use a litterbox (or at least, that your house isn’t a toilet). It will destroy your furniture and belongings and there is nothing you could do against it. You can’t even be angry as it’s just the way fossas are.

Fossas which are raised by humans from birth can be very tame. But often the tameness disappears when they become adults.

Regularly in the breeding season, they will become the wild animals they are again. This is also for females which are caring for their young.

Fossas Need A Special Diet

Fossa animal in the wild

In the wild fossas hunt lemurs which are a huge part of their diet. It’s difficult to meet their nutritional needs in captivity. A special “balanced fossa diet” you could buy in a pet shop doesn’t exist.

Malnourishment is a problem that often occurs in wild animals in captivity. Besides fossas, cheetahs are especially prone to it.

You Need A Vet Who Treats Pet Fossas

It would be really hard to find a vet who is both, willing to and able to treat a pet fossa. The problem with this species is that only very few live in captivity. They are rare even in zoo-like facilities. 

Like hyenas, fossas aren’t related to any other species. So it’s not that a vet could say something like: “Hey I’ve already treated other cat breeds successfully, I can do it!”.

There Are No Fossas For Sale

There is really no place where you can buy a fossa baby. Only one breeder within the US tries to breed this species and he gives his animals only to zoos. 

It’s difficult to bring fossas into breeding-mood in captivity. And so there is no stable population living in captivity. Captive-bred individuals are the premise for successful domestication and pet keeping.

If you want to own a pet fossa that means, you would have to search for someone willing to import one for you. As this is illegal without a permit you’d pay a high price if you do it without.

But the real costs of owning a fossa are just about to start. Enclosure, food and vet care add up to extremely high amounts. This is even more true in exotic pets.