If you see five-toed tracks, and they don’t belong to a bear, opossum, skunk or beaver, chances are they belong to a member of the weasel family. Size and habitat help to narrow down which mustelid they belong to. Although our recent snow produced just a dusting, it was enough to confirm the presence of at least one fisher in nearby woods. Logs appear to be irresistible to these large weasels and are one of the first places to check for their tracks once snow falls. Even when a log isn’t providing them with a way of keeping their feet dry, fishers often choose it over traversing the forest floor.
Fishers have been actively trapped since the 1700’s and because trapping was largely unregulated, fishers were extirpated in much of the Northeast in the 1930’s. Restrictions on trapping, the regrowth of forests and the re-introduction of fishers in locations where porcupines were thriving all contributed to the comeback of the fisher. Today they populate most of New England.
Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to http://www.naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com and click on the yellow “donate” button.