What Are Fisher Cats?

A fisher, sometimes referred to as a fisher cat, is a large, carnivorous mammal found in North America. The mostly arboreal animal is characterized by a long body, dark fur and a long, bushy tail. Fishers are slender and agile and are often found in coniferous or mixed forests.

Fishers are related to minks, ferrets, wolverines and badgers, to name a few. Found across the northern hemisphere, they usually weigh between 4 and 15 pounds during adulthood and grow between 29 and 47 inches in length, including the tail. Their dark fur does not change color with the seasons, although some fishers have a patch of cream-colored fur on their chests. With five toes on each foot, each with retractable claws, fishers are adept at grasping limbs and climbing trees.

Known to avoid open spaces, the fisher is also a solitary hunter. Its prey consists mainly of hares, rabbits, squirrels and mice, although they are known to sometimes go after domesticated animals. Over the last 200 years, fisher populations have often declined, mostly because of trapping and loss of habitat. However, recently they have been reintroduced into a number of states, including Pennsylvania and West Virginia, where they also help with controlling the porcupine population.