By Nancy Rineman, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Friday, February 22, 2001
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]
[Atlantic News Photo by Jim Metcalf]
HAMPTON -- Recent reports of fisher cat sightings in Hampton come as no surprise to Hampton Animal Control Officer Pete MacKinnon.
"There are predators in town," MacKinnon said, adding that residents should also be aware of the presence of coyote.
While MacKinnon stresses that there is no real cause for alarm, he did agree that pet owners should always be especially careful with regard to domestic cats, as their disappearance is often linked to Fisher cat activity. Small dogs could also be in danger.
MacKinnon said about four or five of the species have been traveling through the area recently, with one black and one brown Fisher reported on Little River Road. He described them as being approximately 15 pounds, weasel-like in appearance, and traveling in three-day circles.
MacKinnon said he has also received calls from residents claiming they have seen a mountain lion, and he has had a call reporting that a bear was spotted on the west side of Hampton, but neither call has been substantiated.
Fisher cat are regarded as the fastest animal in trees, and are known to prey on snowshoe hare and red squirrel, but are especially impressive for their skill at killing porcupines. Tracks in the snow may be the only discernable sign that a fisher is present in an area, with most activity occurring mainly at night.
More information on Fisher cats, or Martes Pennati, may be found by logging onto www.nationaltrappers.com/fisher.html.