EAST PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) - Fishers, commonly called fisher cats, live in forested habitatsextending across North America. They are most often found inforests with high, continuous overhead canopy cover. They avoidagricultural areas or extensive fields.
In Rhode Island, fishers are generally common in the Providence,Kent, and Washington counties where there is appropriatehabitat.
Fisher cats are large, dark, long-haired members of the weaselfamily 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 brownto nearly black. All four feet have five toes with retractableclaws and because their hind paws can rotate 180 degrees, they cangrasp limbs and climb down trees head first.
Fishers hunt during the day and night, primarily before sunsetand sunrise. They consume any animal that they can capture andkill. However, small mammals are the mainstays of their diet,including rabbits, squirrels, mice, and porcupines. Fishers oftenbecome pests to farmers because they will raid chicken coops andcan kill numerous chickens at a time.
Fishers will also hunt house cats and small dogs, so be carefulwhen letting your pets out if you live in a fisher’shabitat.
Fishers are known for one of their calls, which is often said tosound like a child screaming, and can be mistaken for someone indire need of help.
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