In the last couple of days, numerous posts about the appearance of a “Fisher Cat” in the central Ontario region have been floating about Facebook and Twitter, and many were directed toward our staff for answers.
So let’s take a few minutes to get to know the fisher!
Fisher (Martes pennant)
The elusive fisher (Fisher Cat is a misnomer) is a carnivore that can be found right across Canada and much of the United States. A member of the weasel family, the fisher is most like their cousin the marten, but larger.
Though noted for their hunting of porcupines (one of the few mammals who does), they also eat and control populations of squirrels, chipmunks, hares and other small mammals. Ironically, they do not hunt fish.
They prefer camping out in small holes, hollows below trees and fallen logs.
Conflict can ensue when fishers gain access to small, unprotected domestic species, but regular co-existence methods and plans can help mitigate this risk.
- Do not feed wildlife: when you feed small mammals such as chipmunks or rabbits, you attract the animals that prey on them, like fishers and coyotes. Overflowing bird feeders can also lead to this issue.
- Remove attractants: fallen fruits, pet food and even fat from barbecues can attract large animals to your property.
- Hazing: many animals will respond well to aversion conditioning – hazing. You can learn more about hazing in our videos on Living With Wildlife.
- Keep an eye on pets: dogs and cats should not be left alone when wildlife is around. It is our responsibility to keep them, and our wild neighbours, safe from each other.
- Talk about it: animals don’t see boundaries like property lines or fences the way we do. Educate your friends, family and neighbours to help mitigate the risks of wildlife conflict.
Beautiful, sentient animals like fishers belong here just as much as we do. They’ve learned to live with us; isn’t it fair that we learn to live with them?