Fishers in West Virginia        Back  Next      Wildlife Index!
Fishers in West Virginia.
Fishers are about the size of a large house cat. They are a member of the weasel family, which also includes minks, martens, otters, and wolverines. Fishers are estimated to live up to 10 years. The fisher is an opportunistic predator with a diverse diet that includes squirrels, hares, mice reptiles, insects, bird, vegetation and any prey they can catch and overpower, including cats and small dogs. Fishers are also one of the few known predators of porcupines.
Fishers search for trees that provide adequate shelter. This means they will find cover in cavities in the trunks of trees, snags and hollow logs and platforms formed by mistletoe (‘‘witches brooms’’) or large or deformed branches.


Fisher can be mistaken for Black Panther
      The most common and distinctive feature in each Black Panther report is a long, slender tail. Their fur ranges in color from dark brown to black, with lighter colored fur around the face and shoulders. Some folks suggest that Black Panther sighting maybe fisher sighting attributed to: poor lighting. Of 55 counties in West Virginia there are 22 open counties for controlled trapping of Fishers.
      Fishers are comfortable on the ground and fast, agile and adept at climbing trees. They are active both during the day and at night. Their homerange is about 10 sq. mi., with males’ being slightly larger than females. The fisher’s range was reduced dramatically in the 1800s and early 1900s through trapping, predator and pest control, and alterations of forested habitats by logging, fire, urbanization and farming. Now a days some countries have an abundance of Wild Fishers, a situation many states do not enjoy.


Fisher Facts

  • The fisher (Martes pennanti)
  • West Virginia's fisher reintroduction got started back in 1969
  • Referred to as Black cats of the Appalachian Mountains, also as fisher cat
  • Medium-sized mammal native to North America
  • Their fur ranges in color from dark brown to black
  • Female fishers give birth to a litter of 3-4 kits in the spring
  • Females and Males are similar in appearance but the males are larger in size
  • Fast, agile and adept at climbing trees
  • Fishers are omnivorous and will feed on many different types of food, including small animals
  • There have been a few instances of fishers preying on cats and small dogs.
  • Unprovoked attacks on humans are extremely rare, but they will attack if they feel threatened.
  • Fishers are one of the few predators that seek out and kill porcupines
  • They are solitary hunters their choice of prey is limited to their size
  • They are most active during dawn and dusk hours of the day.
  • They have a chilling scream very much like that of a high-pitched woman
  • Fishers can live up to ten years in the wild
  • Fishers can rotate their hind paws almost 180 degrees. This allows them to come down trees head first
  • Fishers have five toes and retractable claws.
  • Their feet are large with a pad on each toe and a group of four central pads.
  • Cat-like Animal
  • A fisher’s head and body measure 20-25 in. with their tail being 13-15 in.
  • Males weigh up to 12 lbs. while females can reach 7 lbs.
  • Habitat: Fishers are found in mixed-hardwood forests.
  • .


    Webmaster's Note!
    Fisher West Virginia is an unincorporated community on the South Branch Potomac River in Hardy County, West Virginia. It lies west of Moorefield. The precise origin of its name is unclear. Some folks suggest that it was named after the Fisher (cat-like creature)

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    General references:
    (1) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    (2) Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and US Army Corps of Engineers

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    If you should see a Fisher in West Virginia enjoy the moment. But be sure e-mail us your pictures and where the sighting took place.......