New England Fisher Cats

Fishers by nature do not like open spaces and prefer tree cover or coniferous forests to dwell in. heavily wooded places like New England make an ideal habitat for Fisher cats.

New England Fisher cats
are one of the largest members of the Mustelid family, which includes species like the mink, weasel, otter and skunk. These are noted nocturnal animals and therefore very hard to observe. They are however active during both daytime as ell as night time and that too, mostly during the time just before sunset and just before sunrise, when it mainly searches for food. Their cry is similar to that of a high pitched one of a child’s and therefore can sound very eerie in the nights.

The fisher cat second in size only to the river otter, and ranks amongst the largest members of the weasel family ever, to dwell in Massachusetts. These animals were displaced and their numbers dwindled many years ago, when the farmers cleared the forests and surrounding areas for agriculture. Fishers who are susceptible to trapping and logging were badly affected during this time and were forced to move out into other neighboring areas such as scattered locations in Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, and Virginia. However due to their departure from the aforementioned area, the porcupine population started swelling; and in order to control this menace, the people of New England re-introduced the fishers to curb the porcupine numbers. Nowadays, fishers can be found in virtually all areas or communities in Massachusetts, with the exception of Cape Cod and the Islands.

Until very recently, only rare reports of fisher sightings have been reported by the Massachusetts Audubon Society; however, since 2000, these sightings have increased substantially in number especially in areas of eastern Massachusetts. Reasons for this increase in number have been attributed to reforestation of land, which was previously reserved for farming.

There have been many wildlife laws in place which dictate the manner in which these fishers are to be captured in required to control their numbers and humanely destroyed. These laws have helped keep a check on their habitat and numbers.

Fishers are reserved by nature and are solitary in their mannerisms. They are not known to hunt in groups and are only seen in groups during the mating season. These animals will never den near human dwellings and normally keep their distance from humans.

Even thought their numbers have increased in New England area in US, fishers are hardly a threat to humans even thought they are known carnivores. Fishers prefer snowshoe hares, mice shrews, carrion, etc, and have been known to eat fruit and berries too. It is one of the few animals, which can attack, kill and eat a porcupine!

The population density is known to be one per 2.6 – 7.5 sq. km, but can be as low as 1 per 200 sq. km. The daily movement is observed to be 1.5 to 3 km in a day, but this distance is known to vary given the weather conditions. Fishers walk on the soles of their feet and can climb and swim very well. The fisher paws, have, on its soles large surfaces to help it run on snow without sinking in easily. If its disturbed by any creature or anything, fisher cats tend to arch its back like a cat and is known to hiss, growl, snarl or spit as well as give off an offensive odor!

The fishers are known for their thick fur coats, which provide good insulation against the cold and inclement weather.

346 responses to “New England Fisher Cats

  1. Some people “do not” let their cats out; the cats sneak out the door. I had a cat that was with me for about a year and a half; she was a senior kitty. She showed very little interest in the door at all. One day she decided to dart out the door…..we looked for her all summer…I later found out that a fisher had ripped her apart. She was an “indoor only” cat. It was horrible to learn of this. Come to find out, people had seen her but did not know that she belonged to me (although I did all the necessary posting, e-mails to neighbors, posting on neighborhood websites, etc…) and so she was less than an eight of a mile from me when the fisher got her. A neighbor buried her. I later found out how my cats had died. People have been seeing fishers around our area for quite some time. Sometimes it’s not the people’s fault for letting their cats out, their cats “escape.”

  2. Cat owners have a easy remedy for containing their cats. We have used a boundry collar for our elderly cat. The collar contained a battery which gave a sligh shock when this cat went near a portable device not far from the front door. Then the device was moved to other doors. The cat soon learned to stay away from the doors. We even tried keeping the cat out of the entrance to our living room and that Los worked. There is no need to hold your cat near the device because they learn to avoid those areas pretty quickly. Another important consideration is if you want to allow your cat outdoors. You can limit a small area around your house so that you can observe your cat when you are home. We also use boundry collars for our dogs. The underground wire that is set for your cat is of a different frequency then the wires used for dogs and our dogs never feel a shock when they walk over the wire
    Used for cats. I hope that this is helpful. We use Boundaries For Pets, Salisbury, Ct. Also, GPS devises are used for finding cats and dogs.

  3. Indoor cats seldom want to go out, if ever. Our indoor cat never went out from babyhood onwards and would back away from an open door as if the larger world was too dangerous to go out into. Otoh, we had a feral cat who wanted to be outside all the time. Not really a whole lot you can do. An electronic collar will just hang them to death. Most outdoor cats get pretty wise fairly quickly about how to survive in the real world. We had a fox family once that adopted our backyard due to the birds and birdseeds. The big tom cat had a “consultation” with mommy fox and that was it. They left the cat alone and vice-a-versa.

  4. Are there any reports of them in SW Florida. We are not sure what we are seeing We are finding excrement on our lawn and not sure what is doing it

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