One of the cages in the Bronx Zoo holds a Fossa. It looks like a cross between a cat and a dog, but it holds strange and human eye-contact. The zoo was almost empty the day I visited, and I walked through despite the rain. It had started pouring after I'd gotten on the train and I'd gone too far to turn back. None of my clothes were going to get ruined in the rain, so I decided to go in without an umbrella. Most of the animals were perched in their cages, awake and still, as if waiting under the awning at a bus stop.

In the Fossa's cage, vines hung from the ceiling and encircled a fallen log. There was a shallow pool toward the back of the cage, and a narrow corridor between the log and the field trip or foreigners or bored couple that could press right up to the glass from the outside.

When I came over, the Fossa was pacing. It stopped and examined me with a look of confusion and impatience, like I was an ultrasound and it a pregnant teenager. Soon, it moved on, realizing I was irrelevant. It was hard at work, walking with deliberation along the corridor, jumping up onto the log, following it until it reached the opposite wall, climbing down toward the back of the cage, approaching the pool, splashing as it turned around sharply at the water's edge, jumping with wet paws over the log to the front of the cage, and following the corridor to repeat its path.

The corridor had been worn into a trough. The top of the log next to the pool was darkened with what might have been years of wet paws. It looked like a track mark.

The Fossa was fully grown. It repeated its circuit ten or fifteen times without looking back at me before I moved on to the next animal.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.