Fisher

Fisher.

Name

  • Common name: Fisher
  • Scientific name: Martes pennanti
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Mustelidae

Also known as

Fisher Cat, Pekan

Viewing opportunities

  • Fishers are only beginning to move further north and are rarely seen in Yukon.
  • The best place to find Fishers is in the southeastern corner of Yukon near Watson Lake.

Description

  • Long, slender weasel-shaped body.
  • Dark brown fur, somewhat lighter face.
  • Short legs and strong, large feet with hairy soles.
  • Sharp, partially retractable claws on each of its 5 toes.

Fast facts

  • Length: 50 to 70 cm
  • Weight: 2 to 6 kg
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Predators: none
  • Habitat: Boreal Forest

Yukon population estimate

Not determined.

Behaviour

Fishers have no direct connection to fish and are actually at home more in the trees than by the water. They are solitary animals with a large home range with large densely packed conifers. Fishers are specially adapted to hunt porcupines; they are able to climb head-first down trees to attack climbing porcupines head-on, attacking the vulnerable nose and belly. Fishers sleep in hollow trees, logs, stumps, brush piles, rock falls and abandoned beaver dens.

Diet

Porcupines, small mammals, birds, carrion, berries, lichens

Conservation status

What is conservation status?

  • Yukon: S2S4 (Imperiled to apparently secure)
  • Global: G5 (Secure)

Distribution

Fisher distribution map.

Sights and sounds

Fisher track, front.
Fisher track, front: 6.3 x 7 cm.

Fisher track, hind.
Fisher track, hind: 6.3 x 6 cm.

Fishers and people

  • Since the Fisher is rare in Yukon, fewer than 5 are trapped in southeast Yukon each year.
  • Fishers are specially adapted to hunt porcupines and are one of the few predators that control porcupine populations. In some areas of the country, too many Fishers have been trapped and the porcupines are overabundant in the forests.