Boundbytheword Blog

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He’s lurking out there… March 30, 2011

He’s menacing. Vicious. Ruthless. We crossed paths today. It scared the living bejesus out of me.

The old saying goes, be careful what you wish for. Last week I posted complaints about the porcupine that was feasting on my trees. It was a no brainer – get rid of the porcupine, or watch the trees mutilated from the feeding frenzy. Trapping him ourselves was the only solution. Equipped with its quills as a defense, the porcupine has no real predators in the wild. Well actually, it has one.

Enter the fisher.

Photo: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) in Kemptville


These creatures absolutely terrify me. In the same family as wolverines, the fisher is known for its speed, stealth and ferociousness. Think Hugh Jackman in X-Men as a twenty-pound fanged psychotic weasel.

Besides being fast, the fisher is swift in the trees thanks to razor-sharp claws. Reportedly, they can take down a porcupine. When the quilled critter takes to the trees, the fisher follows it, then overtakes it by attacking the quill-free spot on its body — the face. I have to stop here for a moment. Isn’t this what horror movies are made of? Attacks the face? *shiver*

The icing on the cake is that the fisher reacts aggressively when startled. But how exactly do you startle a fisher?

How about coming upon one while walking your dog, let’s say? Yes, that would seem about right. If you picture it like a movie (which I often live my life doing) you can see the woman walking her dog on a long country road on a sunny morning and coming upon a fisher, startling it, and getting attacked in the face as her loveable but cowardly golden retriever runs home.

That’s how I would picture it, and how indeed I did picture it, as I watched a huge fisher race across the road this morning no less than thirty feet in front of me.
After I peed my pants a little, and finally started breathing again, I thanked heaven above, my lucky stars and the sisters of fate for having my dog engrossed in a hump of grass (or maybe poo) on the side of the road as the fisher took flight. Close call though, as Maalik is never one to give up on a game of chase, and the day may have had a whole different ending than me blogging about our almost catastrophe. (although as a writer, I always appreciate new material)

Of course I found myself a massive stick before we had to cross the path the fisher had taken, and hacked out giant violent coughs as I walked in an attempt to sound ferocious myself. Maalik sniffed the area like the canine unit at a drug lord’s close-out sale, but I didn’t have to ask him twice to get a move on.

So now that I may not have to worry about a porky population, I have evidence of a new beast in town that nightmares are made of. Being that the vicious fisher has few predators (of which includes the bobcat and mountain lion – seriously?) I respectfully ask that powers that be, to send back the coyotes to take care of my fisher problem.

At least I can hear a pack of them coming, and have half a chance of escaping up a tree into safety. As we say here in the boonies – you don’t have to outrun a coyote, you just have to outrun the person you’re with.

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7 Responses to “He’s lurking out there…”

  1. Nadine Says:

    So, be careful what you wish for cause you might just get it – “bobcats and/or mountain lions). There was a cougar like cat sighted around here a few years ago and it had the farmers up in arms – think sheep. Or an edible creature the size of a sheep – does a certain canine unit at a drug lord’s close out sale come to mind.?

    Anyway, they say that you should strive to learn something new everyday and I must say, today I have achieved that before 1:00 pm cause I have never heard of a fisher before and I’m actually grateful that I live in an environment that is urbanized enough that I may never have to meet one. Lucky you that it crossed your path rather than taking the one you were on YEAH!!!! and there my friend is the silver lining behind that “fisher” cloud!

    D

    • Cougars that is so scary! We had talk of that up our way too, and the farmer across the road is adamant that his uncle had a horse put down because of a cougar attack. Said the hind end was clawed in such a way that it was indicative of a large feline, not canine. I still have images of the Little House on the Prairie episode where Charles is attacked by a mountain lion hiding in a tree. There’s no getting away from one of those!

      PS – fishers are now being called a “common mammal” so you may not want to leave any kittens out on your doorstep…

  2. Lisa Llamrei Says:

    Okay, you lost me for a moment as thoughts of a shirtless Hugh Jackman started floating around in my head……

    I think you should count yourself lucky. The porcupine population will be curtailed. Maalik is probably safe from the fisher – at least the fisher is unlikely to try and eat him, though it might attack if it feels threatened. The predators only get bigger and uglier from here on in. You’re started to sound like the old woman who swallowed a fly.

    • You get my snort-award today…the old woman who swallowed a fly – too funny!

      When I looked up fishers online I game across videos of the wolverine…OMG! It is half bear, half evil weasel. There was a clip of one fighting off 2 wolves for the deer they had hunted down. The wolverine won – crazy. I guess I should be glad that they live in Northern Canada – I’m too south for them. Small blessings.

  3. John Says:

    Holly cow!! Noelle you live in such an exciting neighbourhood.

    All we have here at the moment as I go for a walk around our block are cherry blossoms . . . and of course the odd drug lord that would provide entertainment for Maalik.

  4. Nature….gotta love it. We lived in the same neighbourhood for eleven years and never saw the excitement we’ve had here over the last two. Of course, to the farmers whose families have been here for generations, a bit of wildlife is old news…

  5. Dale Long Says:

    Fishers are scary animals. I happy your dog didn’t get the scent or urge. It’s not a battle I’d place money on no matter how big the dog. Who ever wins is bound to be messed up pretty good.

    Now Hugh Jackman, I think he’d fix that fisher good. I just wouldn’t let him. Call it man vanity… Would you let Cindy Crawford get it? I didn’t think so. 😉


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