Wild About Weston – Fishers

Fisher (Photo credit: Philip R Brown for MassAudubon)

It’s time for another episode of Wild About Weston, this time taking a look at one of the most elusive Weston residents, the fisher. A recent burst of excitement in our town’s favorite tempest-in-at-teapot (aka Community Facebook page) was about a fuzzy backyard visitor who was likely looking for some chow in the way of bunnies (please please come to my yard and take out the zinnia-eaters), mice, or backyard chickens.

In spite of the TMZ-level social media on this beast, they are neither “nasty” nor “not nice.” They are mammals who like to eat, as are we. They are not “cats” but in the weasel family. They don’t actually fish either–their name comes from “fitch” which is a ferret-like beastie also known as a European polecat.

Outdoor cats are not in fact the fisher’s favorite food. Have you met an outdoor cat recently? The Owl is afraid of most outdoor cats which are themselves an aggressive lot, if I may say so. I would take on neither the northside’s Strykker nor the eastside’s Oreo, which in spite of his cute name, could definitely take down a coyote.

Fisher (Photo credit: Adam Grimm for MassAudubon)

So now that you know what they’re not, you should appreciate what they are–and if you ever see one, realize that you are pretty lucky–in the five years I have roamed the Weston woods as a WFTA trail ranger, I have seen only one. They jump seven feet between trees. They can cover 18 miles in a 24-hour period. They are nocturnal and diurnal so you can see them at any time–or not–as mentioned, they are elusive.

They are amazingly patient and let’s face it, somewhat-gross killers of porcupines. How do you win against a porcupine? Well, it involves biting it in the face over and over again…oh fine, I can’t write it here…you can look that up here at the MassAudubon page which is fantastic, and on which this post is based. Note that it is graphic, so skip “diet” if you want to not have that to think about at 2 am. Fishers don’t find many porcupines in Weston but, as wildlife is known to be, they are opportunistic–they will eat fruit and berries if they find them, and don’t think they won’t go after your teacup yorkie if you leave it outside alone. Does anyone even have a teacup yorkie anymore? That reminds me I have forgotten to update our dogs of Weston for 2022. I’m on it.

As you all know by now, it is illegal to transport wildlife in Massachusetts so we all just have to find a way to get along. Give those fishers some space and some respect.

For past Owls on our wildlife, you can hit the search feature–the bobcat, my other favorite, is linked here.

2 comments

  • Wait… I can’t take Mr. Fischer for a ride anymore? I’m not a fan of this transport ban. They just love letting their little tongues flap in the breeze while zooming through the well-paved streets of Weston.

  • I’ve seen one twice walking across my back yard.

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