The Fisher "Cat"
Martes pennanti

Video by Daniel Koshinski

Referred to sometimes as the "fisher cat" because of it's "cat" like appearance, the fisher is actually a member of the weasel family. Larger than its look alike cousin the mink, fishers are dark brown ( sometimes looking almost black ), long haired, short legged with small ears and a furry long tail. Males may appear two toned with a mixture of blonde and brown due to guard hairs that form on their neck back and shoulders.

Males are slightly larger ( 35-48 inches, 7-13 lbs.) than females ( 30-37 inches, 3-7 lbs. )

They are both equip with retractable claws on their wide, five-toed, paws. Those big feet make them very adept at walking on snow and climbing trees. They also use them for grabbing and killing prey.

Fisher have large anal scent glands common to the weasel family for attracting mates and marking territory.

What Do They Eat?

One of their favorite meals is porcupine. They will eat the whole porcupine leaving behind only the quilled skin and larger bones. They are one of the few animals brave enough to prey on the porcupine. Though mainly, they feed on small to medium size mammals and birds. They also will feed on beechnuts, acorns, apples, berries and other hard or soft mast crops. They may sometimes include carrion from larger animals like deer.

Where Do They Live?

Fisher will den in hollow cavities of trees, logs, underground, rocky hillsides and even in a secluded brush pile in the woods. Males range farther than females and are very territorial. The areas they frequent seldom overlaps the territories of other males.


Females can be receptive at any time of the year and reach their sexual maturity in the first year. However, the will delay implantation of fertile embryo until the following spring if needed to so that their first litter is born the following year. The mating season happens in March and can stretch out until May. The average size of a litter is 2-3 kits born with little fur and closed eyes and ears making them totally dependent on mom for about 8-10 weeks when they will begin to be weaned. About 5 months later ( usually by autumn ) they will begin leaving the family unit or be forced out.

Fisher Facts

1. Fisher can rotate their hind feet nearly 180 degrees, which lets them go headfirst from trees.

2. They have no natural enemies besides man who will sometimes trap the animal for its fur.

3. They tend to live in solitude except during the breeding season

$. They will not live in treeless areas.

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