A lot of people have never heard of a fisher cat. What is a fisher cat? The fisher cat is a North American marten, a medium sized mustelid. The fisher is agile in trees and has a slender body that allows it to pursue prey into hollow trees or burrows in the ground. Despite its name, this animal seldom eats fish; the name may originate from the French word fichet, which referred to the pelt of a European polecat. In some regions the fisher is known as a pekan which is derived from its name in the Abenaki language.
Adults weigh between 2 and 7 kg (4-15 lbs) and are between 65 and 125 cm (29-47 inches) in length. Males are about twice the size of females, with the smallest females having been recorded being as small as 1.4 kg (3.1 lbs), hardly larger than most other martens, and males at as much as 9 kg (20 lbs). Their coats are darkish brown, with a black tail and legs; some individuals have a cream-colored patch on the chest. Each of the Fisher’s feet have five toes with semi-retractable claws. Because they can rotate their hind paws 180 degrees, they can grasp limbs and climb down trees head first. A circular patch of hair on the central pad of their hind paws marks plantar glands that give off a distinctive odor, which is believed to be used for communication during reproduction.
Fishers are solitary hunters. Their primary prey include hares, rabbits, squirrels, mice, shrews, and porcupines. Their diet may also contain small birds, fruit and berries, as well as deer in the form of carrion. While fishers and mountain lions are the only regular predators of porcupines, the fisher is the only predator to have a specialized killing technique. As observed by Robert G. Snyder in the Adirondack mountains of New York, a fisher first approaches from the direction the porcupine is facing. The porcupine tries to protect itself by turning to present its tail, covered with quills, to the attacker. The fisher then jumps directly over its prey, forcing the porcupine to keep turning to protect its vulnerable head. A dozen or more such maneuvers suffice to exhaust and confuse the porcupine into a stupor in which it can no longer protect itself. Then, by repeatedly biting and scratching at the porcupine’s face, the fisher causes it to bleed to death. The fisher eats the porcupine by flipping the dead animal over and starting with its unprotected belly.
Fishers are also known to eat ground nesting birds such as grouse and turkeys. Often, young of the year and eggs make easy targets. Also, in some areas fishers can become pests to farmers because they will get into a pen and kill large numbers of chickens. Fishers have also been known to eat small pets left outside, such as stray cats and dogs. While this is rare, when densities are high and food resources are low, animals may become desperate.
In 2005 a Boston Globe article told of fishers attacking cats. A July 4, 2007 article in the New York Times raises the possibility that fishers have turned up in Hopewell Township, New Jersey, causing concern among cat owners. Zoologists are skeptical, suggesting other animals could be responsible, observing that it would be difficult for fishers to migrate into the area. A study done in 1979 examined the stomach contents of all fisher trapped in the state of New Hampshire. Cat hairs were found in only one of over 1,000 stomachs. Attacks on domestic cats may be documented, but zoologists suggest a bobcat, coyote, or dog is more likely to kill domestic cats and chickens.
126 responses to “What is a Fisher Cat and What Does It Look Like”
I’ve never seen one of these fisher cats but I heard a noise that sounded like a fisher cat screech. They say it almost sounds like a kid screaming?
In Somerset County, NJ. Two Fisher cats at 3am
my dogs were alerted. by their presence. I had been missing my Maine Coon Cat for 3 weeks,a saavy hunter and wise cat. Now that I saw two of the weasel like creatures around my car in the driveway, I know now that the cries I heard (thought that it might be deer) were the Fisher Cats. How to deter them? My dogs went crazy
over the scent by my car. I why are they predators of domestic cats, with so much wildlife in the woods.
I believe I saw my first Fisher yesterday afternoon here in central Vermont. It was quite large and very black. Looked very much like a river otter. It stayed looking back at us on a dirt road for quite a while and didn’t appear to be fearful of us. Pretty cool!
I live in North Stonington, Ct and every Aug-Nov the Fisher cats come into the State Forrest behind our house. We have NO stray cats, squirrels, chipmucks, Not even any geese, ducks, birds in and or around the lake across the street. I don’t know what the state of Connecticut is waiting for to do something. The fisher cats are now coming up on to our porches, No more raccoon, possums getting into trash. Everyone locks up their animals at night fall. Lost my cat in August, the one night I couldn’t catch him and lock him up, GONE the next day. Haven’t seen any deer come through my yard this fall. It’s eerrie because it so quite. Only hear the neighbor hood dogs barking. The State of CT need to get off their butts and do something, I’M JUST waiting until the problem is in their back yard. Believe me the fisher cat will move to the food source is.
I have seen three fisher cats within this last year. All three times the were running across the road in our rural hills of Pennsylvania.
i did not see anything but i heard it i didnt think t sounded like a child or lady it sounded like a large bird dying. i ran around trying to find the source but i saw nothing. i think it was coming from behind my neighboors house. i don’t live near woods.
I’m all for wild animals eating domestic house pets. If people want to let their cats roam at night they should realize that kitty has put itself into the wild. Cats do terrible things to the ecosystem. They kill moles and birds and baby rabbits and whatever else they can kill. Payback’s a b****!
you a very mean and heartless person.FU!!!
please stop with trying to kill the fisher cat! it was here long before us and those stinkin domestic cats! let them eay every domestic cat out there. SORRY GET A DOG
They eat any animal including dogs………………………..
your a total ass hole.
You are a horrible, HORRIBLE person. I hope you get eaten by a wild animal
yo youre ridiculous. youre obviously an animal hater. i hope one daay you come back as an animal and get thrown out into the wild to fend for yourself.
heres an idea, keep your animals inside? but na that be to easy.
I live in small town in Pa with woods around and I seen the cat that I thought was an over size pig, untill my daughter told me to look at the net, and sure as I seen it it was a fisher cat.
Sure but so do honey badgers…
Do Fisher Cats eat snakes?
We have a fisher living in our area, which is Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada. We are on an acreage north of Stony with lots of forest for a back yard. This is the first time I’ve seen one in north western Canada in my life (over 50 yrs) My cats have been aware of him for weeks. They will not go outside. I saw the tracks in the snow and on our deck, but thought it was a coyote. Today it went cruising through my yard and down the driveway while I was having my morning coffee. Couldn’t get a good picture, wasn’t fast enough with the camera. As soon as he heard me moving around, he ran. I have read that they don’t really go after cats, but are deadly to porcupines. This is good because porcupines almost killed my fruit trees by eating the bark off last year and they went for one of my prize pines this fall. Maybe the fisher will eliminate the porcupine.
I use a try spray to fix the bark………..we have them here…….in NE PA
To Debra in North Stonington, I too live in North Stonington, I hunt and hike in the Patchaug State Forest year round and there certainly are a number of fisher living there. there are also deer, squrriels, rabbit, turkey and other species there as well as habitat permits. While a localized fisher population can no doubt put a dent in the local rodent or domestic cat population, i don’t think they are having any significant effect on your local deer or duck population. Coyotes are also plentiful in the Pachaug SF. Predators are a natural part of the local fauna that should be appreciated and enjoyed. Just this morning in the newly fallen snow I found domestic cat, fox, and coyote prints in my driveway. It wasn’t our cat (ours is indoors at night and a good part of the day) but I wouldn’t be surprised if i see a “cat missing” sign in the near future if it’s hanging around at night in North Stonington. It’s wild out there Thank god.
Ive seen two in as many years. The first at my brother’s in Enterprise, ON hiding from me behind a fence post. Within 30 feet there were three cats who were just standing and looking at it. They didn’t seem afraid. The second was this week, across the street from my son’s on the outskirts of Peterborough, ON. I got a photo of it but through two panes of glass and a screen, and the animal half in strong shadow the picture is not the best. However, having seen the first I knew what it was. Both sightings were in daytime. I don’t think you should worry about a cat disappearing only at night. I will be keeping a close watch as we have a baby.
One night I was sound asleep and heard such a loud sound that it woke me up … I thought I had a big giant crow in my bedroom.. I got scared and turned on the light but there was nothing… I heard the cry/screech again.. and then it stopped….
The next day I was sitting in my den which looks out on our back lot.. Our house has a big patio door leading to the deck out back… we have vaulted ceilings….and a fat furry redish animal ran across the back yard… I thought it was a neighbor’s cat….it went so fact that I didn’t get a good look at it…
The next day after doing my housework I sat in the den to listen to the news.. and there was that animal digging in the ground with it’s long nose .. it stayed there for at least 1 hours digging …I noticed it was not a cat by the elongated nose… but I was purplexed as to what kind of an animal it was… again in the late afternnoon it appeared and did the same routine….
When my son came home, I explained to him what I had seen and he guessed several animals and when I looked them up on the internet they didn’t look like this animal.
when My son from Maine called today he suggested that I look at the picture and sounds of a fisher cat….
That was It.. and the screeches are just what I had heard that night that I was awakened .
So I guess we have a fisher cat loaming around here.. we are surrounded by woods and mountains… they abut our property..
I do not have any other animals.. so I guess I will just keep away from the back yard when I see this animal around..
they are vicious………..will attack, they are not afraid of humans
I am wondering if anyone knows if there are these fisher cats in the new england area, more specifially massachusettes. I live in a wooded area in rural mass. and my house is surrounded by woods but there is a main road in the front, my back yard has woods going several miles , I am just wondering where they are usually found? Also will they approach a human or are they afraid of humans?
I live in Bedford, MA surrounded by woods, and just saw one this week crossing the street. I also had one sitting on my fence last year. It frightens me because I have a small dog.
I saw a fisher today in the area of the Adams and Cheshire line in western Mass on rt. 116.
I wonder if fisher cats are found in Western Pennsylvania? I have been hearing sounds in the woods behind my house that sound like what the fisher is supposed to sound like. It goes on all night long. Any ideas?
Just found out that there are fisher cats in western Pennsylvania. Saw one for the first time a couple days ago and then again today. It lives somewhere close by our place. I worry about all our stray barn cats and our chickens. Can’t believe the Game department let them loose around here to take care of porcipines. There are no porcipines. Now we have to worry about our animals and kids. We are close to Pittsburg.
get a license in Pa special permit Dec 18 to 24………………
if your cat is out at night and meets a fisher. too bad . the cat is gone.
Fool. Cats are natural nocturnal predators, and help keep down the rodent population.
fisher marten just got a baby chick and a baby turkey last night
I spotted three fishers running one after the other across Lockehaven Road in Enfield NH today at about 1 p.m. They do look like slick black otters. And they are fast!
woke up to the screeching sound. but the sound went on till 920am found out that’s what’s living in the hole out in the back yard, havent seen any deer around and the neighbors cat is missing. canaan nh
I have Fisher cats where I live in maine..I put food out so I can observe them on my game camera
I and two of my friends saw a Fisher Cat in the field behind my house in Schuylkill County Pa. I was told that they were re-entered to our area to help keep the Porcupine population down. I have 4 German Shephards and 1 Chiwawa and I’m affraid of them coming together and causing injury to my dogs. Are these Cats protected in Pa. and can they be live trapped and moved out of our area. Many evenings my dogs sit on our back yard and bark continuely, and my neighbor has sheep, chickens, and other small animals. Who could I call on this matter? Thanks, Bill
They will kill your dogs………..keep them in at night time……….and watch them in the day time as they are not night animals………….they can be hunted in Dec with a special permit……….
Keep in mind that Fishers are relatively small animals (think Ferret) topping out at 15lbs (largest EVER was recorded at 20lbs), but more likely under 10lbs. Short-legged with a long body and long tail.
They should not be a threat to any decent sized dog or cat and certainly not deer. Coyotes are the far more likely culprit. Very little solid (as in almost Zero) that Fishers attack and eat domestic cats or dogs.
Sadly, I lost a feral stray cat that I was trying to save through this past harsh winter to a fisher, cats are really a fisher’s delicacy, its easy prey for the fisher, actually nothing can really get away from a fisher if its hungry especially in the winter when food is scarce. I live in a wooded area in Vt and have seen the fisher at all hours of the day and have heard its eiry scream various times in the night, right into the morning. This article says its claws are retractable, I believe they are not retractable.
I was wrong, fisher’s claws are retractable, I see really long claws on the fisher in all the photos I have been able to get over the past nine years of this animal in my forest!
Conservewildlife.org says, “The fisher cannot retract it’s claws and they are usually dulled somewhat by constant contact with the ground and rocks.” I knew I had read this somewhere just recently, now I wonder what I should believe 🙂
Correction: The Fisher’s claws are actually semi-retractable according to the Connecticut Environmental website.
I just got online today to find out what a “fisher” is. There was an article in our local paper, in Ridgefield, CT, about an alarming rise in missing domestic cats. Since these mammals were recently reintroduced into CT, and our area has lots of old growth forests, perhaps they are part of the problem.
Our area is overrun with deer who have eaten virtually any and all habitat for rabbits, squirrels, and small and large ground fowl. I walk every day in a forest near my home and rarely see anything but white tailed deer on their way to neighbor’s yards. In four years I have never seen a rabbit or hare in these woods and very few squirrels or chipmunks.
It is wrong to introduce animals into an area where food sources are scarce.
Of course, there are foxes, coyotes and a hunter told me he saw bobcat scat as well. in the forest. Looks like all God’s critters are hunting the same scarce game. I am missing a really pesky woodchuck that used to live under my deck, so I am hoping the fisher took him out for me!
If you don’t want to think about your domestic cats being mauled by a fisher cat, keep them indoors where they belong and stop complaining about wildlife, they’re doing what’s natural for them and you are not a responsible pet owner if you let your cats outdoors.
sine one in north east ohio. we are 20 miles from pa. border
Fisher cat ran across my backyard this afternoon, much to my surprise. Live in Fletcher, VT and have heard the stories of them being around. Wasn’t quite sure until I got online and checked out some pics. Most people don’t even know what they are. I thought they were nocturnal?
Four days ago I lost my precious cat. Two nights before I saw a fisher cat. I always bring my cats in. When I called for them only three came. I called for hours but he didn’t come. I have looked for four days with no luck.
To the heartless individuals who felt the cats got what they asked for or the owners were asking for it letting the cats out. I can’t write what I feel except your a poor example of a human being.
I’m really sorry to hear about your missing cat, it’s so hard to have an indoor/outdoor cat. Every time my cat escapes and disappears I always worry a fisher cat or a fox grabbed him.
I have never heard of a fisher before today. There was a news article posted in Western NY that a fisher, believed to have been out of our region for close to 100 Years had been found. A gentleman found a strange animal dead on the side of the road, upon calling the DEC they discovered it was a Fisher measuring 61″ from nose to tip of his tail and toping out at 15 pounds. I was reading the comments posted to the article and someone posted about their horendous scream. I looked up the audio of their scream as for the last 3-4 years there has been this awful screaming coming from the woods in our back yard on a regular basis at night. The noise of the Fisher is exactly what we hear at night, but I am not sure if it is a Fisher or Red Fox. New neighbors moved in a couple years ago with about a dozen outdoor cats, their numbers seem to be dwindeling. I personally have 2 indoor cats, but I also have 2 Chihuahuas 1 at 4-5 Pounds and the other at 8-9 Pounds. I am a little concerned by hearing they MIGHT eat my pets. Mine are never out unsupervised but I would like to know in case they get out unintentionally. Is there any way to find out if it is a Fisher or Red Fox? Please let me know as I am concerned for the safety of my pets, as well as just curious? Thanks!
they will eat your little dogs too.. be very careful.do not walk them at nite they have no fear just hunger
fischer are big….rear end up in the air….dark brown to black…big as a dog……………red fox is red pointy nose………big fat bushy log tail…………….
I was so glad to hear about a Fisher found in Brockport. Not happy that it was a a dead one. Several years ago I spotted one of these in Adams Basin, NY. Probably about 10 years ago. Just a few miles from Sweden/Brockport. When I was walking near the railroad tracks, near woods and farmland. This strange animal crossed the Tracks ahead of me. I stopped and stared. I was not sure what I was seeing. I went home and looked it up. It appeared to be a Fisher Cat. However the article I read said they were not in this part of New York State. So I thought??? hmmmm…. I can’ t imagine what else it could have been. So I have been puzzled for a while about what I saw. Now I feel better knowing that they are indeed in this area. About eating domestic animals. If I had chickens I would be concerned. I do have a cat, but she is not allowed outdoors. So she is safe. For people who chooses to have indoor / outdoor cats, there are many risks, now including death by Fisher Cats.
Great news! Thanks.
you a very mean and heartless person.FU!!!
Last night i to was introduced to the Fisher Cat. I heard the most awful cry, almost had a human quality about it, scared me to death. I called the police since i thought it might be a person, it was late at night and there was a party going on at the end of our close. Well to my chagrin it was not a person but a Fisher Cat. I have never heard of them before and did not know they were in our area which is Alberta, Canada. We to have fox dens behind our home which is in a secluded part of the city and we have all kinds of wildlife showing up. Its great but i do have two beloved cats. They were both strays that ended up in our yard and I adopted them. One is a Maine coon, what a beautiful and gentle cat, the other is a mix of everything i think. It is hard since i do let them out, never at night but my husband lets them out in the early morning. From now on i will have to be out there with them since i am so afraid of something happening to my cats. You see it is also their right to go outside, they love to be outside and play and investigate things. I can not take that away from them but we have found a solution, we are putting up a cat fence, that way, they can’t get out and nothing can get in. They can have the best of both worlds without giving me a nervous breakdown. I have never left them out their unsupervised though, except for when my husband lets Big Boy out in the morning, but they can be gone so fast even if you just turn your back on them.
Well I sure hope that none of you do lose one of your pets to a fisher cat or anything else, its devastating to lose one. They are almost like my kids.
Take Care All
If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything!!
I just learned that I too have a Fisher living on my back hill. I have a woodsy/overgrown back hill…and the dusk/dawn sounds I was hearing (thinking they were strange birds)…ended up being a fisher cat; who coinsidentally may have a litter also living on top of my hill. I had a great conversation with the Ct. Wildlife Division of the Department of Environmental Protection…and he reassured me of what these animals will/won’t do. While the thought of having this animal on my hill is nerve wracking (I have a 12 yr old black lab, 10yr old boy…and neighbors with similiar sized pets / similiar aged children)…. he reassured me that we should not be afraid. These animals are not aggressive by nature; that said – we need to be smart about our surroundings. Not leaving food out (bird seed/food, cleaning grill, dog food,etc) is a must. Keeping small pets (cats and small dogs) inside is a must. Outside of that, be watchful for any unusual behaviors (fisher being aggressive towards things; trees, sheds, etc. as that can be a sign of a sick fisher – which can taken care of by the DEP). I found that educating myself to be a big relief and while I’m not ‘sold’ that he’s not vicious, I am more aware – which is what all of us need to be when we have wild animals roaming around.
don’t believe this………………..they are vicious…when hunting time comes get a permit & go hunt them.
what do baby fisher cat eat? theres an abandoned 1 in my rasberry bush
they eat just that berries n small rodents w/ no mother to feed it..but now that u know its there’it will grow to b killer..try to catch n relocate to a safer place.keep animals in they come out of hidin just to eat everything….
don’t feed it………………….they are vicious…………they kill animals…………..they are related to weasils.
I live in the country side of VA. I decided tonight to trying & find out what the weasel looking creature was that I ran over with my truck this evening. It was definitely as Fisher. This is actually the second one I have run over in the past month (2 to 3 miles apart). The first was a young one b/c it was smaller & I thought was a cat/kitten. Both times though, they move slow & deliberate & it was raining or had been raining each time … I couldn’t avoid them :(. But now we think back about the wild sounds we hear out here, I heard what sounded like an old woman scream one night & we joked then about it being an old swamp woman behind our house, pretty eerie.
One morning at 3 a.m. my border collie needed to go outside because she either smelled something or had to relieve herself. . Took a 10 million candle power flashlight and a pistol with me because of the way the dog was acting. Two dark animals were advancing towards us. They were advancing side by side and got to within about 8 ft of me. The B.C. was behind me barking. The flashlight did not deter them so I fired off a warning shot and these two animals really took off, but they were aggressively advancing on us before I shot. They stood about 18 inches high at the most and were about that wide with their hair sticking up and out. My diary farmer neighbor has seen fishercats and when I related my story to him, that’s what he thought them to be. The b.c. weighs in at about 35 # but is not very aggressive. Don’t tell me that I am mean because I shot at them. They were intending to attack. Have a lot of coyotes, fox, and raccoons around here and it was non of them. Live in the southern part of upstate NY.
I have heard the sound of the fisher and have never heard such a thing before. I spend alot of time outside, however, once it’s dark I’m in for the night. This year I have seen more wild life around my house, fox, turkeys, bear, deer,porcupines than ever. Unusual that I have not seen any raccoons or skunks which were very commom. Perhaps the fisher cat(s) that are around have lowered their population. It is a scary sound, usually early evening till early morning enough to wake me and my dog up. Would love to see one, but from the safety of my home outside the window. My dog, as small as she is will go after anything, regardless of size, especially the local bear. I too live in southern up-state NY and heard that the fishers were relocated here a few years ago by the D.E.C..
my husband and i have been walking along the cape cod canal for 20 years and we have seen fisher cats in the rocks i was surprised when i read that thery don’t eat fish i wonder why they hang around the rocks like that?
they are dangerous……looking for small animals they are not afraid of people
They are. Look I Nguyen for rats. Go out at night and the rats are everywhere.
I heard a fisher cat screeching around 2:30 AM last night in Franklin MA. Keep your domestic pets indoors.
i never seen a cat like that until my cat ran from 1 the other night.i opened the door n she ran up stairs n under the bed. the next nite was awakened by 2 animals fightin in the street.it was 2 huge fisher cats.i chased them w/ a flashlight breakin up the fight.now i know y my little 7lb cat smells the air when she goes out..makin her dash right back in..well i guess shes never to go out again at nite.u r not suppose to let your animals out after nite anyway… becareful people!!!
We have these Fishers here in Portugal, and their numbers have been increasing steadily. It’s a good thing that they prey on stray cats and dogs (as any ecologically minded person knows the havoc feral animals play with small mammal/bird/lizard/amphibian population) but not so great that they are killing our chickens in broad daylight, 100 yds from where we are working, silently carrying off 3 at a time. We have a secure pen but like to let them free range and not only do we hate fences but they’re prob a waste of time with these critters anyway.
What to do! Traps are out of question for us. As obviously poison. I remember a documentary “the wolf man” about a guy who uses recorded wolf territiorial calls to deter wild wolves from raiding sheep in Poland and Belarussia. Made a living out of it,, fair play, and what a job! Anyway, possibly there’s something out there similar that may deter Fishers, or maybe it will attract them! Or a scent they leave to mark territory? If anybody has any ideas along these lines of eco deterrents please drop us a line. By the way some interesting local deterrents for the Jaboree (wild boars – can eat a lot of spuds) include human hair and used menstrual pads!
Was in Indian Lake. NY and one night I heard the most chilling sounds out back off camp one was a cat and the other I wasn’t sure of but it was chilling. Got my husband to come listen and it was obvious a cat was being killed. Husband went out with gun and animal was under camp he could only see eyes and it was making weird growly noises. came inside and went to bed , next morning heard neighbor calling her cat finally went over and told her what I heard it was August 11, 2011. Now there is a terrible odor coming from under camp. Listenend to video on fisher cat and I know that that was what I heard. Neighbor cat never found. Then in Fort Edward , NY went to a friends house and saw a fisher cat in her backyard the neighboring farmer is missing 6 chickens. This was daytime and the previous experience was about 9:30P.M. Just thought someone might be interested.
We have fisher cats in the woods of our back yard. We didnt know that we were actually looking at fisher cats until I saw this site and the pics are exactly what we saw. They were dark brown with long tails. I thought they were weasels. It was about 2 in the afternoon and they were in the trees. We live in Bedford NH
there are related……..hunting season get a license and take care of them.
Have started hearing a noise the past few nights that you all seem to be describing, something I never heard before in my life. The first time I heard it, I felt inclined to call the police because it sounded like it was a scream from a women being attacked. I have read a few articles about fisher cats tonight and all of them make it seem that where I live is not fisher cat territory (Westchester County, NY). Anyone else in my area has heard this recently?
We live in Bedford, NY (not far from the Croton Reservoir) and have heard the screeching for years. Last night (February 6, 2012) I saw a Fisher Cat on a stone wall next to my driveway eating peanuts that I had put out for the birds. Healthy looking specimen, somewhere between 15-20 lbs. We have a large indoor/outdoor cat (once feral but now a wonderful pet) that seems to not be bothered by it because she sat about 8 ft away and just watched it eat.
People have to keep their pets inside and only let them out when they accompany them. Fishers and other animals are predators and they do get hungry. It’s the circle of life and you can’t really blame them. So, just be careful.
friend in northern Chester County, Pa told me today about Fisher cats around her property She called DEP ans was told 190 were dropped in the past 10 years.
Coyotes and now these…
I hunt at a cabin here in central Pennsylvania, and in early April, 2012, a trail camera strapped to a tree caught a strange little creature perched on a stump. Its back was to the camera, but the thing was sitting next to one of my salt blocks. My estimates are that it was at the very least 24″ long, probably closer to three feet. The tail was long and bushy, and the fur was dark brown, nearly black. My first guess was a fisher, but I was a little skeptical, considering I have never heard of one in the area. A quick Google search lead me to a clear picture of a fisher from behind, and upon comparing the internet photo to my own, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’re one in the same. I haven’t had any more sightings besides some strange tracks in the mud nearby that also match that of a fisher. I’m curious as to where the little bugger might have come from, if he’s common in PA, and if there is a chance he’ll stick around. Thanks!
We live in Hughesville, which is Northcentral PA and my mother has seen one going down the alley behind her house almost every morning. I think they have spread to almost everywhere since they brought them back.
I want to say that I heard a fisher cat tonight. It was on a tree branch outside of my bedroom and was making this eerie crying/screaming/squealing sound. I’m not sure how to describe it but it sounded like it was something being attacked, while also mating, while also sounding like a guinea pig squealing. At some points it did sound like some of the sound clippings that were posted on this site. It did leave the tree… it walked down the trunk of the tree, kind of like how a squirrel would, but this thing had an outlining similar to that of a cat– it’s body was maybe 18″-24″ long and had a bushy tail to it and it had short legs. It left the tree trotting, so it wasn’t running or limping– it was just walking away normally. I have heard their call before, but this was the first time that it sounded like a guinea pig squeaking/squealing, and also seeing the outline of it’s body. It was a really creepy experience.
Aside from being a bit more cautious of neighbors with their outdoor cats/pets and the feral cats that live in the neighborhood, should there be any precautions or actions that should be done? Are they even something to worry about, or should they be just disregarded unless they show unusual behavior where animal control should be alerted?
By the way, does anyone know what odor fisher cats give off? Because once it became nighttime, the area smelt like someone was roasting/grilling stale garlic with rubber kind of musk, which lasted from around 8 PM until 2PM (where the scent became undetectable like an hour after hearing that sound from the fisher cat).
My father lives in a remote rural area. The small farm nearby has wild barn cats to help control the rodent population. My father has witnessed Fishers hunting and killing these otherwise wild and tough cats. In one incident, a Fisher had chased a cat up a tree. When the cat couldn’t climb any higher, it jumped. The Fisher jumped as well. Catching the cat in mid air.
I live in southern Columbia County Pennsylvania. A neighbor said she saw one running around in the woods. I think I saw one at 3pm today crossing a road from corn field to corn field. And something as been digging small holes in my yard. Like a half inch deep and 2 inches around. Maybe that is skunks or opposums. I don’t know if fishers will kill cats or not. I heard owls and hawks will cats.
fishers will kill cats or dogs………..not afraid of humans.
I live in Mystic, CT. I was walking at 8:15 am along High Street which is a pretty settled, residential street when this animal I thought was a tiny extra thin cat came out of a driveway, ran along the side of the street and then ran into another driveway about 2 houses down. It was only when it turned into the second driveway I saw its long nose and realized it was not a cat. And Mystic is not that forested. Also there are several missing cat signs up all over town. No wonder.
To the people who speak of just keeping your cats inside at night. Good luck! As a cat owner myself I know they like to sneak out and/or not come when you call them. People missing cats aren’t dumb or negligent, they just own cats. And cats have a mind of their own! 🙂
Is that what to my pet chicken I thought only people ate chicken not fishers?
they will eat chickens, cats dogs or anything else that size. They are not afraid of humans.
Fishers, are part of the weasel family, NOT feline family. Some people confuse them for part of the cat family because of their shape and size. From a distance, they can resemble a cat especially with their bushy tail. But make no mistake, a fisher is part of the weasel
family. Take a good look at it’s face and you will see.
– make no mistake folks and forget the folk tales, the Fisher is a predatory and aggressive animal.
-it is a member of the weasel family and in some areas of Ontario were introduced to curtail the common weasel population itself.
This is an animal that ,despite it’s size, can cause serous injury to larger animals.
They are solitary nocturnal hunters and can be very dangerous if approached.
They have been seen here in the daytime in NE PA Susquehanna Co.
they are out day & night….not afraid of human.
JUST SAY A HUGE FISHER CAT IN MY YARD 2/5/13 SCARY
neighbor called to say there was a fisher in her yard and it headed towards our yard and to keep an eye on our dog.
I looked out the window this morning and saw what I first thought to be a beaver down by the creek. I soon realized it was a fisher and a big one. I’m pretty excited and hope to see him or her again. I wished I had gotten a picture. I’ve spent a lot of time in during my life in the outdoors and this is the first fisher I think I’ve ever seen.
I should have mentioned I live in upstate N.Y.
They are very nasty animals……………..don’t leave any food out……………
Just saw a very large fisher cat in my back yard.Its around 4:00 in the afternoon it was feasting on bread we throw out for the birds. Iam glad we fence in our dogs. We live way back in the woods in Jaffrey N.H . Been up here almost 25 years and had never seen one before.
stop putting bread and other food out……………….
Yesterday one of my hens was killed and taken away that was locked up in our barn. So we locked the remaining chickens in a shed that night until we could investigate. This morning when I went out to let them out, I went into the barn to throw them some feed. There was a tabby cat looking animal that was there and I startled it and it jumped high up and through a small opening into a stall. I was puzzled because even though I thought it was a house cat, it was larger than one and left an unpleasant scent, not like a skunk. I Googled what I saw and found two animals, one weasel like and one that looked like the animal I saw, a large gray tabby cat, both called Fisher cats. Why are they so different looking and how do I get rid of it?
you need to find the holes that they are using to get in and seal off with metal…………..these are bad news……….vicious………….killers.
Fishers don’t look like tabby cats… They are not a striped like tabby cats are.
I forgot to add, fisher cats are a member of the weasel family and look like a large weasel, long body, shorter legs, long full tail and all one color but may occasionally have a grizzled look at the neck and shoulders where it’s fur is longer. These animals are, in no way, shape or form, a feline.
Up here in Northern Vermont, we see Fisher Cats, but they are rare – because they are afraid of people. (Likely to get shot, you know?) Still, they are well known for taking out domestic dogs and cats if they can. Very mean and very, very, very fast: you don’t want to mess with them. Fortunately, if you back off, they are usually glad to leave you alone. Just like black bears.
Of course, if you live in a place that doesn’t permit hunting (OMG: Like You Mean, With GUNS and EVERYTHING: Like NO WAY!!!)
then they may not be quite so willing to back off.
Hey, you pays yer money and you takes yer chances, right?
they are not afraid of people
We raise peacocks here and last week one came up missing. We live near the Alleghenny forest in PA. I noticed odd tracks in the snow all over our property and after showing them to several hunting friends, they determined it was probably a fisher. I’d seen one two years ago on our property and it was an odd looking thing. This was before we had peacocks. I thought it was pretty neat back then. Not so much now. I followed it’s tracks under our barn, and I’m pretty sure it’s there right now. Circle of life indeed, and my belly is grumbling.
You can call the game warden and ask for live traps to move them. These are dangerous hunters.
Late one night, I recorded the sound of a strange scream with my cell phone. I’d been playing the sound for anyone who would listen, asking them if they could identify what it was. Finally, an acquaintance of mine visiting from Connecticut, told me it sounded like a fisher cat. Sure enough, that’s exactly what it sounds like, but I live in central Pennsylvania! I thought they were supposed to only exist further north???
Just came back from a morning walk and saw a fisher cross the dirt road in front of me. it was big and fast, they don’t like humans and it was rare to see one in the daylight. We live in a remote area around Orwell N.Y. in North Central N.Y. and they are not that rare around here but they Are an animal that you don’t want to try to make friends with because they will hurt you. We haven’t had any trouble with them and house pets but there is a lot for them to eat around here and hope they will cut the porcupine population down.
Spotted 2 fisher cats in new Hyde Park, NY. They were contemplating an attack on myself and my dog but did not. I was very frightened.
Don’t go there again…………….they will attack…they are not afraid of you. they want to kill your dog.
We have Fishers there in the Santa Cruz Mts CA – They come and hit my chicken coop everynight – Just saw one big one crossing the road in daylight.
You need to seal up any holes with metal………maybe put the chickens in a total fenced in area including the top………until you seal off any opening to protect those chickens.
I live in western Arizona middle of the state north to south and about 30 miles east of the Colorado River. I am not sure if what I saw was a Fisher or not. It was unlike anything I had seen in this area and I have live here for over 25 years. I have ruled out everything that lives here I can think of (coyote, fox, dog cat, bobcat, cougar, coati, javalina, deer). My logic says it was just a unusual badger but if I was asked to describe it I would say wolverine or a fisher but neither should be in my desert area. I couldn’t get a good picture of it or find any tracks clear enough for an ID sadly. It puzzles me but my estimates put it at 14″-18″ tall and around 30″ long with black brown feet fading to a slightly lighter brown toward the top. Any comments?
I seen a fisher cat in the yard this morning At first I thought that we had an extra cat that showed up in the yard , I wasn’t sure till I look on Google what they looked like and it sure is a fisher cat walking away from the house with his back hunched and long straight tail behind him..Total lent most be close to 30 to 36 inches. Dark brown and some black . Most of the black was on the tail..In northern Alberta,Canada
They are dangerous watch your pets.
I recently started to let my cats out again where we live I wasn’t going to cause we live in a bank near the river I left one day not being able to find my one cat but when I got home I went looking for her to find her dead on the bank . She wasn’t chewed up or anything but just looked like she had 2 bites in her shoulder blades and not torn apart at all . Broken paws and and a tail . Is this something I should call someone to see about getting it removed I just don’t want it to get my other cat been watching her very well and don’t let her stay out alone to long I don’t onowwhat to do ?
I would keep my cats in………..it will kill cats, dogs chickens and rabbits
Saw my second fisher last night here in south eastern Mass. A rather small one so likely born this year. First one was about 10 years ago. About 30 years ago I heard screaming in the woods late at night. Sounded lika a woman either getting killed pr laid. Now I figure it was a fisher.
I live in Portage Co. Ohio and 2 times this year I have seen a very large, light brown fisher going to apples 15 yards from my deer hunting ground blind. This animal is over 3 feet long and very sleek. First time I saw it I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. Fisher came to mind so I googled it and sure enough this is what is appeared to be. The color confused me because the pictures I’ve seen are darker animals. Found some articles that indicated the color can vary from light to dark. Last night it came out again and there was no doubt in my mind that it was a fisher, and a pretty large one. My grand son lives very close to this sighting and he told me he has heard some horrific screams at night and thought they were coyotes. Now we believe it may be a fisher or fishers. There is a den on the side of a bank about 30 yards from where I’ve sighted it which I’m thing it might be staying in. Can’t wait for some snow so we can back track it to see. Contacted DNR, none have been reported in Portage but one was road killed North of me in Lake Co. 2 yrs ago. The color still puzzles me, anyone seen any of simular color.
Think I saw my first fisher. I live in northern MN. Was walking out on state land checking out a beaver lodge. When on my walk back home not too far from beaver pond I spotted what I thougt was a skunk coming towards me but as it got closer I noticed it was much bigger, no white stripe and a longer bushy tail. It almost looked wet or all oily . It did not appear to notice me and was moving pretty quickly towards me. I screamed to scare it off and that worked. I almost wanted to stay still as to check it out closer but since I wasn’t sure what it was I sort of panicked. I googled it when I got home and I believe it was a fisher. Should I have been scared or could I have just stood still hoping to get a better look? I really enjoy my walks in the woods and tend to venture off the beaten path just to see what’s out there.
Was walking my dogs next to a pond in New Hampshire when a Fisher Cat approached. It was slow a first then started to charge. My 2 dogs are 40 lbs. a piece this Fisher wanted to attack ! when I yelled, it turned and ran away. thank goodness ! That was scary. They are not afraid and yes they are very very fast.
While bof hunting Oct 3rd I saw a coyote chasing a real big fisher cat. It ran up a tree and the coyote waited at the bottom for it. After about 5 minutes the coyote took off and eventually the fisher cat came,down. I was wondering what would happen to the coyote if it got to tangle with the fisher,
I saw one dead one today.in upstate.glad it’s dead.my dogs 15pounds.if there’s one there’s likely more.i will be watching better.
your a total ass hole.
Yes I’m with you i have cats that i love with all my heart. i love lots of animals but not ones who are danger to my babies i have no children. some people think we’re crazy, but my pets come first.