Fisher

At Thanksgiving, my cousin, Ivan was talking about how, over the summer, something called a fisher had moved into the bush near his house in Coldwater. The result of this was that the entire area is now completely bereft of all small animals. No squirrels. No chipmunks or groundhogs. People’s cats were going missing (not his though, yet).

“Yep … fisher’s eaten everything,” he said.

We all nodded solemnly.

This is a Kingfisher. This is not, in fact, the bird I was thinking about. That bird had white feathers, long spindly legs and stood on a beach. However, this is what a Kingfisher actually looks like. Thank you for the useful information, Brain.

But, I wondered, what the hell is a fisher? My brain summoned an image of a bird. A bird was obviously not causing all this death and destruction.  I spent an aggrieved moment wondering why I don’t just pony up the dough and get a proper data plan for my stupid Blackberry so that I could sneak off and find out what a fisher was and save myself the pain of proving to my family, again, how out of touch I am with my country roots.

Instead I was forced to ask: Sooooo, what’s a fisher, anyway? Which, as it happened, was probably a lot more entertaining than looking it up on a mobile device.

My uncle said its habits are like that of a Tasmanian devil, and someone else said it was from the weasel family. My uncle continued that it could take down a small deer. My dad said that a guy he used to work with up north trapped them (he wasn’t sure if the guy trapped them on purpose or if they were incidental catches like dolphins in tuna nets). They are loners. A fisher moves into an area, eats everything, and moves on.

Later in the car, I filled in my mother, who’d been helping make dinner while I lounged around with the men, on the fisher situation at Ivan’s.

“It can take down a deer!!” I said.

“A small deer,” my Dad corrected.

Still.

According to the fisher’s Wikipedia page, they are found from Nova Scotia in the east to the Pacific shore of British Columbia and Alaska. They can be found as far north as Great Slave Lake in the North West Territories and as far south as the mountains of Oregon. There are isolated populations in the Sierra Nevada of California and the Appalachians of West Virginia. I am still trying to figure out how I’ve never heard of this thing when they’re so wide spread. The Nature of Things really dropped the ball on that one.

Anyway, behold the fisher:

I like the fisher a lot. It manages to look cute, while also conveying that it would not hesitate to rip your freaking face off. That is a fine balance. If I didn’t like the beaver so much, I’d nominate the fisher for our new national animal.

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