Rico the fossa debuts at Denver Zoo

The first ever fossa pup born at Denver Zoo is beginning to explore his enclosure. The pup has been named Rico.

This fossa has spent his first few months of life tucked away out the back of his enclosure after being born on July 28. His mum, Violet has been keeping a watchful eye on Rico as he begins to play. She has proven to be an excellent first time mum.

Fossa’s are born blind and with no teeth in a den. Rico has been in his den till keepers recently decided to remove the boards from the den entrance and let him out to explore as he has begun to walk.

Rico’s mother was born in June 2010 at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and made the move to Denver during 2012. She joined Dorian the first fossa to ever reside at Denver Zoo when he moved there in 2010 from Hogle Zoo in Utah. He is 8 years old and was born in 2006 at San Diego Zoo.


Rico and Dorian only met in June so they are an excellent match due to their quick breeding. These guys are important for a species which only numbers 2500 individuals in the wild. They are vulnerable due to habitat loss and hunting. They are elusive so a definitive number is difficult to find.

These animals are closely related to mongooses yet resemble a mountain lion. At the should this species measures just 8 inches (20cm) tall. Their tails provide food balance as they climb through the trees. The agility of this species is regularly described like that of a primate meaning they can hang upside down and climb quickly up trees.

Though they are small the fossa is the largest predatory mammal living on Madagscar. Most of their diet is the islands famous lemurs.

Visitors to the zoo may be lucky enough to see Rico poke his head of out the den box.

Photo Credit: Denver Zoo

By Cale Russell

TheAnimalFacts.com is a testament to Cale’s commitment to the education of people around the world on the topic of animals and conservation, through the sharing of topical and newsworthy information.

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