The Fisher (Sighting: Westerly, RI, 2017)

I had a fisher on my back porch last night. It chased my cat right into the screened-in porch. The cat smartly scooted under the couch but not before hollering for me.

I heard her and came out from my room, and there was a very large “cat,” something odd about it … which had obviously chased her in, causing her to yell to get my attention – While I was immediately concerned for my cat and was looking for her (but she was under the couch), I didn’t really examine this supersized “cat” that was standing there waiting for me to tell it to go away. I went for a quick flashlight grab, returned, and the fisher was sniffing the bottom of the couch. I figured it out immediately and said “Get out of here!” and the animal departed quickly.

It was maybe ten last night. I’m in Westerly, RI, on the river in the Hiscox Rd. neighborhood. It’s old woods and streams but mostly residential. The fisher was a rumor for years, but now it’s real.

I figured out today looking at photos this was without a doubt a fisher. It looked exactly like the photos I’m posting along with this article. It was right there, I could have kicked it. The animal was not fierce-looking as you might imagine. It was very healthy-looking and appeared to have a demeanor similar to a cat. It was like a cat chasing a cat … which is what I originally thought – I just thought it was a really big neighborhood cat. This is because the fisher’s tail is very prominent.

This one is all black; its face looks just like a cat, but the ears are smaller and rounded. The posture and gait of the animal is more like a dog. When it sniffed the couch it looked like a cat, especially because its tail is big and makes you immediately think of a cat … but its stepping forward toward the couch made me think “what an odd, enormous cat!” because it seemed to have “shoulders” more like a dog.

This fisher is big, three feet long with tail extended, and the tail a full half of that. It could have easily weighed 10-13 pounds, a large specimen (and definitely male, as females are said to be half this size). The coat was thick, like a winter coat, and the tail was especially heavy-looking. It was a beautiful animal.

Typical winter coat
Typical winter coat

It did not look like it would have been aggressive to me, although under the shield of darkness this animal looked capable of doing serious damage. It seemed to know it was in my house, and was probably submissive compared to being in its own environment. It did not show its teeth. The encounter was more relaxed than I would have imagined, as if the animal could not help but chase the cat, but was not that hungry for it.

Way too smug

My cat is hooked on the outdoors, and I’ll be keeping an eye on her. She stayed on the (other) porch with me most of the day today; she doesn’t run off uncontrollably but she does disappear. That’s a different story, I guess; who knows what Penelope encounters when she sometimes stays out all night?

I’m open to suggestions on how to relocate this animal and general information. And yes, I talked with Penelope about this! She promised to be fully invisible at all times when the fisher is around! I’m so glad she called for me last night; we make a good team!

6 Replies to “The Fisher (Sighting: Westerly, RI, 2017)”

  1. Our wildlife camera in our backyard caught one a few weeks ago. We are on the Mystic /Groton town line with quite a lot of woods to the rear of our property. There are also quite a few wild cats around that come out of the woods at night. May be hunting those.

  2. This is the reason why you do not let your pets outdoors on their own, build a cat run. We have for way too many years had coyotes & fishers here just a couple miles away from you on Diamond Hill Rd. People want to keep their pets safe need to keep them away from the food chain, After all We are taking over the wildlife’s domain. If you love your pets, you wont let them outside ever by them selves!

  3. I have seen one before my friends use to trap and showed me one. My understanding is hey were brought to RIbecause they needed to to lssen beaver population making damage by building dams. They sound like a baby crying at night and yes they are agressive. Long teeth and claws can do damage. But that’s eco system. Hope you don’t have anymore encounters I’d call the DEP..

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