The New International Encyclopædia/Fisher

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FISHER, or Pennant's Marten. The largest (except the wolverine) of the fur-bearing carnivores of the weasel family (Mustelidæ) called in books Pennant's marten (Mustela Pennanti). It is found in forested and uncivilized parts of Canada and the Northern United States, where it formerly ranged southward to Tennesee. It is about thirty inches long, besides the tail which is twelve inches or so more. In color it is chiefly black, often with gray or brown tints toward the head. It is a fierce nocturnal animal, living chiefly on birds and small quadrupeds, and having the general habits of the marten. Its fur in winter is good, and is much used in Europe. The black tail was once a favorite ornament to the caps of the Polish Jews. It is called by the trappers pekan, wejack, or perhaps more commonly black-cat. The name ‘fisher’ is said to be due to the fondness of the animal for the fish with which early trappers baited their marten-traps, but more probably arose from misunderstanding of its habits, or confusion with the mink. It is a great nuisance to marten-trappers whatever bait they use, but is itself taken without difficulty in large traps baited with meat. Consult Coues, Fur-bearing Animals (Washington, 1877).