The Fisher Cat (Pekania pennanti)

This small mammal is a bit confusing because, despite its name, it is neither a fisher nor a cat. In fact, it is a mustelid similar to that of Ferrets and Minks. They are known for their odd name and their piercing shrieks.

Physical Description and Behavior


These mammals are fairly small, weighing only about 12 pounds and being 3 feet long from head to tail tip. They are dark-brown and have a thin slender body with a pointy face. They live to about 7 years in the wild but 10-14 years in captivity.


They are generally crepuscular and do not hibernate during the winter. The fisher cat burrows tunnels under the ground in the wintertime, and are usually solitary until it is mating season. Most of their time is spent on the forest floor, where they scent mark trees with glands under their anus in order to mark their territory.


Fun fact: Despite spending most of its time on the forest floor, this is one of the few mammals who are able to climb down trees headfirst. They are able to twist their hind legs 180 degrees, giving them the ability to traverse trees quite well if they need to.


The fisher cat is omnivorous, eating mostly hares and porcupines, along with berries, insects, nuts, mushrooms, and other plant matter. One thing that they do not eat, is fish.


Habitat and Location

The fisher cat can be found throughout North America, from California in the west to Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia in the east. They can also be found as far north as the Northern Territories in Canada.


They are fairly common in mixed-hardwood and conifer forests, preferring old-growth forests with a lot of overhead cover. According to conservation reports, they are a G5, which means their population is secure and stable.


Find out a little more about these animals by checking the video below


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