As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, we installed outdoor cameras in December 2017 and have amassed a fun collection of animal videos over the last year and a quarter. Many are of the usual suspects — raccoons, rabbit, squirrels, deer — but a few have stood out as rather extraordinary. I want to share my favourite one with you today.
Check this out. It’s a fisher!
I wasn’t sure, when I reviewed the video, what I was seeing. I could tell it was a mustelid, a member of the “weasel family”. So I mentally ran through the list of common species nearby — minks, least weasels, and otters — all those long, slinky animals.
My first instinct was to look at that long body and thick dragging tail and think otter. But otters don’t traipse around at 2:00 in the morning. And it didn’t move like an otter. Size-wise, it couldn’t be a mink and weasel. They are are much smaller.
That left me with one remaining suspect — the fisher.
Now I have never seen a fisher here and, until a few months ago, didn’t even think they were in this area. But earlier this winter my neighbour up the hill caught a still shot of one on his trail cam. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. We have fishers here! What are the chances I’d ever see one?
I went to Science Twitter for confirmation.
Alright #TeamMustelid, who did I catch on my cam last night? If this is a fisher cat in my yard, then omg! Other known locals include otter (at 2am?) and smaller mustelids..mink, various weasels. This feels many stoats large. #2019MMM pic.twitter.com/pyHQml5N2F
— Kimberly Moynahan 🇺🇸🇨🇦 (@Kim_Moynahan) March 21, 2019
I included screen captures and photos of the animal’s footprints to help with the ID.
And the replies were unanimous —
Our vote is fisher too!
— Fieldworkblog (@fieldworkblog) March 24, 2019
Looks like a fisher to me?
— John Clare (@John_D_Clare) March 21, 2019
Most fishers I’ve seen have been a bit stockier than that, but the tail seems pretty spot on. I’d go for fisher
— Matt Wilson (@mattymuffffins) March 21, 2019
“He was on my head spinning in circles, trying to get a grip, biting and clawing … I couldn’t get him off.” — Roberto Giugovaz (Kingston Whig Standard)