Not Black Panthers, But Fishers!

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 20th, 2010

(Photo by Luis Ascensao)

Luis Ascensao snapped this picture of two fishers in the backyard of his Tyngsborough, Massachusetts home.

Recent sightings in the Boston area of dark-colored catlike animals are not black panthers, but fishers, the larger relatives of weasels and minks.

The Boston newspapers have caught up to the situation in recent news stories.

After the Globe ran a story in the Metro section Aug. 4 about a recent spike in reported fisher sightings, e-mails poured in from readers in Greater Boston and beyond who say they have seen the animals.

The fisher, a relative of the weasel, grows to 3 feet snout to tail and can weigh 8 to 16 pounds. It has long, retractable claws and a pointed head with round ears tucked tight against its skull, squat legs, and fur that runs from rich brown to black. It latches onto a meal with the help of razor-sharp teeth. Sometimes called a fisher cat, its normal prey are rodents and small wild animals, but fishers will also attack house cats.

By James O’Brien, Globe Correspondent

In Jamaica Plain, one day early last month at about 3 a.m., Margaret Connors and her 10-year-old daughter heard “a screech, a scream, a cry” in the backyard of their house on Westchester Road. Carrying flashlights, they went into the yard and saw what she said were two fishers overhead in a tree.

“Two sets of eyes, and an outline — long slender bodies with long bushy tails,” said Connors. “Just staring at us like, you know: ‘what are you going to do?’ ”

Connors said she also heard what she believes were squirrels in the tree, which may have been the draw for the fishers.

Like Connors, some say the animal emits a high-pitched screech, but John Organ, wildlife biologist and division chief with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, in Hadley, disputed that.

“They will growl and hiss, chirp and chatter” Organ said. But, he said, “I’ve never heard [a screech] from a fisher.”

Hissing is what Marjorie Lyden, of Wellesley, heard one Sunday in May.

Read the rest of James O’Brien’s article, here.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

2 Responses to “Not Black Panthers, But Fishers!”

  1. Alton Higgins responds:

    A fisher was collected near Tyngsboro, not too many miles away from Boston.

  2. Krimeg responds:

    I think the Malawy terror beast looks like a very large Fisher or a Wolverine with spots, and so does Toulson’s critter. It’s not a Honey Badger, since 20 inches high at the shoulders is too high for it. The highlands region around the African Great Lakes is definitely a cryptids hotspot with primitive looking animals.

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