What Does a Fisher Cat Sound Like?

When New Hampshire resident Duke Smith first heard the cry of a Fisher cat he thought he heard a baby dying slowly. The shrieks were constant, high pitched and their resemblance to human voice was really eerie. Several nights and a few missing cat notices later other residents of the neighborhood confirmed that these were the sounds of a Fisher cat.

Do fisher cats make a noise?

The only vocalizations that fishers generally make are quiet chuckles and occasional hisses or growls. … Having listened to many supposed fisher screams on the internet, I think that people most frequently confuse the calls of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) for the screams of the fisher.

Do fisher cats hurt humans?

Are they vicious? “ The public perception is that they are very vicious, but they are not. They won’t attack you or your kids and your dog if you are out for a walk in the woods,” Decker said. Fishers prey on mammals such as squirrels, rabbits, mice and voles, as well as ground-nesting birds, water foul and songbirds.

Why do fisher cats scream?

Another unusual characteristic of fisher cats is their piercing screams. Internet forums say a fisher’s blood curdling screams, let out in the dead of night, signal that the creature is about to attack.

Does a Fox sound like a fisher cat?

Foxes will bark, yelp, screech, and often emit sounds akin to an actual person screaming. … Audubon’s Calcagno said fishers are “not strictly nocturnal” and unlike foxes, they’re “not vocal creatures.”

If the fisher cat isn’t the most inaccurately named animal in North America, it’s certainly up there. This weasel relative is not a cat, and it doesn’t care much for fishing. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting creature in its own right.

The animal’s name is usually the first thing people ask about, said Michael Joyce, a wildlife ecologist at the Natural Resources Research Institute of the University of Minnesota Duluth. In New England, for example, biologists have found that fisher cats seem to enjoy dining on gray squirrels ( Sciurus carolinensis ) most often, Northern Woodlands magazine reported .

Researchers tracking lynx with radio collars occasionally found their subjects dead in a snowdrift, with little fisher-size bite marks along their necks and heads, National Geographic reported . Internet forums say a fisher‘s blood curdling screams, let out in the dead of night, signal that the creature is about to attack. A 2012 study published in the journal PLOS One found that four in five dead fishers picked up in California had rat poison in their bodies.

The authors suspected that the rat poison was likely put out by illegal marijuana growers whose farms are hidden in public lands.

Until recently, I attributed the chilling screams that came out of the woods to fishers, or, as theyre often inaccurately called, fisher cats. It was a givena truthful wives tale, a fun tidbit about a neighborhood critter. Fishers scream. Youll never see them do it, but they do.

Everything lined up nicely: Id hear an eerie, gruesome cry, and later find nighttime photos of the likely culprit on my SIM card. Fisherswhich, like pint-sized wolverines, weigh around twelve pounds at most portion out the bodies of lynxes, sometimes behead them, hide different bits in different places, and stretch the kill out over a few meals.

In the video, a camera crew heads up to a womans home in the woods of Vermont, where she claims to have heard fishers scream. She doesnt want to dismiss the experts, but there are a lot of Vermonters that have heard fishers, she says, and I just cant believe that all these people who grew up in the woods are wrong. Defenders of Wildlife explains , Fishers eat snowshoe hares, rabbits, rodents and birds, and are one of the few specialized predators of porcupines.

Google fisher cat scream (embracing both misnomer and misinformation) and youll turn up plenty of stuff like this: it sounds like a woman being murdered; its an omen of bad things to come; make sure to keep an eye on your small dogs. In Berrys case, he began more seriously than ever to learn the names of thingsthe wild plants and animals, the natural processes, the local placesand to articulate my observations and memories. He writes, While I flossed in the morning, looking north through an upstairs bathroom window, I hoped to see a bear come out of the trees.

I first heard the scream of a fisher cat several years ago. Having grown up here and spending much of my youth hunting and calling animals, I knew what I heard was not a fox or a raccoon. If I had to describe what it sounded like, I would say it is a cross between a woman being attacked and a bad power steering pump chattering sound. Literally blood curdling.

Below is a video of a Cape Cod fisher cat screaming at the Cape Wildlife Center in Cummaquid which is the only video I have seen where you can actually see the animal making the screeching sounds .

What do fisher cats eat?

Although “fisher cat” is a bit of a misnomer, it’s not because the animals won’t eat fish, Joyce said, but because they eat a lot of things and fish isn’t usually at the top of the list. In New England, for example, biologists have found that fisher cats seem to enjoy dining on gray squirrels (The study’s authors examined the stomach contents of 91 fishers, whose carcasses they had found in Pennsylvania. Of these fishers, 12 had bits of other fishers in their digestive tracts. The team speculated that the Pennsylvania population of fishers had grown so large so quickly that the animals were competing with each other for food and had grown aggressive toward one another.
But the fisher‘s true dietary claim-to-fame is that it’s one of the few animals that regularly attack and eat porcupines. Fishers “run circles around [porcupines] to try to exhaust them,” Joyce said. As the porcupine tires out, the fisher will snap at the quilled animal’s face. Enough bites to the face, and the porcupine will eventually bleed out and die. Once the prey has died, the fisher will grasp the porcupine’s face in its jaws and twist the prickly creature upside down to expose the belly, so the fisher can safely eat without getting quilled. However, fishers are sloppy eaters and will occasionally swallow a quill or two, Joyce said. But the quills don’t seem to bother the fishers much.Fishers also don’t seem to care if they get a quill to the face. While fishers don’t have superpowers making them immune from quilling, they seem to be able to fend off infections from quill injuries that would kill other animals, Montana Public Radio reported. In an unpublished study of 100 fisher skulls collected by hunters, Joyce found that about one in 10 skulls had quills embedded in them, suggesting the tough little creatures had survived at least one unfortunate quilling.In addition to fearlessly hunting porcupines, fishers can also take down lynx — predatory cats that are about twice the size of an average fisher. Researchers tracking lynx with radio collars occasionally found their subjects dead in a snowdrift, with little fisher-size bite marks along their necks and heads, National Geographic reported.”A fisher really doesn’t have any boundaries in the size of the animal it’s willing to attack,” Scott McLellan, a wildlife biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, told National Geographic.The fisher cat‘s reputation as an aggressive hunter has led to unfair and unfounded rumors that fisher cats attack and eat pets and even small children.”I’m not aware of any, and I don’t think there are any cases of fishers attacking humans,” Joyce said, adding that while a fisher cat probably wouldn’t think twice about eating a house cat if the opportunity presented itself, studies of fisher diets in human-dominated landscapes suggest your cat is probably safe. (Cats have more to fear from coyotes, owls and cars.) The rumors are likely fueled by the fact that the fisher‘s range is expanding, so people who have never seen the elusive animals before are now seeing fishers in their yards (and in some cases, trash cans).

About that scream

Another unusual characteristic of fisher cats is their piercing screams. Internet forums say a fisher‘s blood curdling screams, let out in the dead of night, signal that the creature is about to attack. But those noises are probably misidentified foxes, Roland Kays, curator of mammals at the New York State Museum, wrote in the New York Times. Foxes are generally very vocal, and therefore easy to record, while fishers are typically silent in order to better hunt their prey.”They do make vocalizations,” Kays wrote, but not the eerie screeches attributed to them. Instead, the fisher‘s vocalizations sound more like an “agitated chuckle,” Joyce said, similar to the sound a pet ferret makes, he added.