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The Wilds of Madagascar
Questions and Responses #1
Posted May 22, 2000
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Question:

My afterschool children were so excited that you are going to be learning more about the Fossa. We have a cat, named Foosa here at the daycare. We got her when she was about 3 months old. She is a vicious hunter. No piece of fuzz is safe in our house. The kids would like to know if a Fossa would eat our Fossa. How big an animal can they eat? How many different types of lemurs are there.

Melissa Boldon
Galaxy Club School Age Childcare
Lancaster, CA



Response from Peter Tyson, NOVA Online Producer:

A fossa can attack and kill a lemur its own size, which is about three feet long, not including the tail. It is one of the biggest threats to lemurs in the Ankarana Reserve. So yes, a fossa could eat a cat. Incidentally, while the fossa looks superficially like a cat, it is more closely related to the civet.

There are over 30 kinds of lemurs, including some 50 subspecies. At least 17 more lemurs, almost all of them larger than any living today, and one of them approaching a gorilla in size, went extinct some time in the past two thousand years.



Question:

What are the man-eating trees—species or common name?

(name withheld by request)



Response from Peter Tyson, NOVA Online Producer:

The man-eating tree does not have a scientific name. Despite its legendary status, the man-eating tree of Madagascar appears to be a fiction. Since its first description in the South Australian Register of 1881, no one has ever laid eyes on it, and most believe that the original story was a hoax.



Comment:

Hi Folks,
The site looks great, and I'll look forward to following what you find in Ankarana during the end of the rainy season. Don't forget to pay attention to the herps (reptiles and amphibians) too; Angelin and Angeluc are both personal friends of mine, and I can vouch that they're both top-notch field herpers! Pass along a big 'Bonjour' from me please.

One minor complaint: Someone got a little carried away with describing the fossa as "one of the deadliest carnivores on the planet". Please tone that kind of hype a bit, as it only makes the rest of the info a little suspect.

I'll stay tuned to your progress.

Sincerely,

Bill Love / Blue Chameleon Ventures
Alva, FL



Next set: #2



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