Fishers in Virginia
The fisher (Pekania pennanti) is a rarely seen predator of the weasel family. I never knew we had these in Virginia until a local farmer told me about unfortunate incident involving his flock of chickens. He came out one morning to a barnyard of carnage, with a bloody and gleeful fisher massacering almost 50 birds overnight. These effective hunters are also related to skunks, minks and otters.
This pic was taken in the Shenandoah National Park in 2011.
These cat sized animals are primarily nocturnal and prefer to live in or around mature forests. Once they were much more plentiful along the east coast. Over the last 40 years, fishers have been gradually moving east and south thanks to reintroduction programs in several states, including West Virginia, Wisconsin, New York and Pennsylvania. Virginia game officials have documented fishers in Frederick, Clarke, Warren, Page, Shenandoah and Rockingham counties.
Besides their typical diets of small animals, insects, nuts and berries, fishers are one of the few animals that will prey on porcupines. Despite the porcupine's greater size and dangerous quills, these industrious predators remain undaunted. Interestingly though, fishers rarely eat fish!