Fisher cats can be a serious threat to chickens. They are a member of the weasel family and are a forest-dwelling predator that hunts birds, mammals, and small animals. Fisher cats have long, elongated bodies covered in thick brown fur and short legs. They have wide, rounded ears set close to their head and sharp, curved claws. Males are larger than females. They are able to climb trees well and can jump to the ground from there, too. They are very agile hunters and are solitary creatures with large home ranges.
They can live up to 10 years in the wild. Mating occurs in late winter and early spring and produces offspring, called kits, that are born blind and helpless. Young fishers are able to catch their own prey after about four months. The main food sources for young fishers are mice, voles, squirrels, rabbits, and hares, but they also eat berries and fruits.
In general, fishers prefer mesic, coniferous forests that have thick canopy coverage. They avoid open areas and logged forests. They move within their home ranges every few weeks and usually travel in a straight line. They use various dens to sleep, including hollow logs and stumps, rock cavities, brush piles, abandoned beaver dens, and openings in snow banks.
They are one of the few predators that can climb, jump, and crawl as they seek out food in the wild. They often make pit stops in suburban areas where they scavenge for garbage and other human-discarded food items. If humans disturb a fisher cat, the animal may bite or scratch in self-defense. It’s best to stay away from these vicious creatures, but if you have livestock or domestic animals that are in danger, it’s important to know what to look out for and how to prevent them from getting too close.