Pacific Fisher

Scientific Name
Pekania pennanti
Size
30-47 inches long
Habitat
Coniferous old-growth forests
Status
Not federally protected; listed in Oregon as sensitive-critical on the Sensitive Species list
Pacific Fisher

About

The fisher is a member of the weasel family and is about the size of a house cat with short legs and a long bushy tail. They are generalist eaters that prefer rabbits, hares and porcupine; however, will eat insects, mushrooms, berries, and even carrion of larger animals. Pacific fishers are proficient hunters and are one of the only known species that can hunt porcupines. They usually remain independent, but come together during mating season by leaving scent trails. 

Why does it need our help?

While the Fisher were once abundant, they are now limited to small regions in Southern Oregon, Northern California and the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Their populations have dwindled due to habitat loss, over-hunting, and recently, rodenticides used in illegal marijuana cultivation. Only about 4,000 fishers remain on the west coast and about 250 in the Sierra-Nevada Range. While fishers are beginning to be protected in other eastern states, Oregon and California have yet to take legal action. 

Did you know?

  • Fishers can rotate their paws almost 180 degrees, allowing them to climb down trees headfirst
  • Fishers are one of the few animals that can hunt porcupine, flipping them on their back and attacking the belly
  • Fishers have a large scent gland on their feet, allowing them to leave a scent trail to communicate with other fishers
  • Despite being called “fishers” they very rarely eat fish

Video

BioGraphic produced by Days Edge

 Fisher released in the South Cascades of Washington

  

Photo Credits
US Forest Service