Updated: Tuesday, 23 Jun 2009, 2:12 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 23 Jun 2009, 2:12 PM EDT
EAST PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) - Fishers, commonly called fisher cats, live in forested habitats extending across North America. They are most often found in forests with high, continuous overhead canopy cover. They avoid agricultural areas or extensive fields.
In Rhode Island, fishers are generally common in the Providence, Kent, and Washington counties where there is appropriate habitat.
Fisher cats are large, dark, long-haired members of the weasel family that average about three feet long. They have short legs, small ears, and a long well-furred tail, making them “grizzled” looking. Their color varies from dark brown to nearly black. All four feet have five toes with retractable claws and because their hind paws can rotate 180 degrees, they can grasp limbs and climb down trees head first.
Fishers hunt during the day and night, primarily before sunset and sunrise. They consume any animal that they can capture and kill. However, small mammals are the mainstays of their diet, including rabbits, squirrels, mice, and porcupines. Fishers often become pests to farmers because they will raid chicken coops and can kill numerous chickens at a time.
Fishers will also hunt house cats and small dogs, so be careful when letting your pets out if you live in a fisher’s habitat.
Fishers are known for one of their calls, which is often said to sound like a child screaming, and can be mistaken for someone in dire need of help.
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