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Wild fisher spotted within Grand Forks city limits

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GRAND FORKS, N.D. — A furry visitor has made it's way into one community and has people wondering, what is it?

WDAZ's Scott Cook joins us to explain what this creature is and why it may not be as friendly as it looks.

Many residents in Grand Forks have been snapping pictures of this creature and asking animal control what it is.

It turns out it is a fisher, also known as a fisher cat, and they are actually quite common in rural parts of the valley.

However, these small, carnivorous animals are very reclusive and tend to avoid areas populated by humans.

But apparently there is one, maybe two, that have made their way into the city limits and now animal control is telling people to keep a close eye on their pets.

Jeff Grooten and Kathy Ray live in Grand Forks with their dog, Daisy.

But this weekend they had an unexpected visitor.

Jeff Grooten, Grand Forks resident, says, "Sunday morning we had a little fisher that crawled up into our tree right here. And it was really cool to see."

The couple snapped these photos of the animal.

And it turns out, they weren't the only ones who had seen it.

Brian Samson, Grand Forks Animal Control, says, "People have spotted it everywhere. We're not sure if there is one or two, but we know there is one in the city."

Dozens of people have posted pictures to the Grand Forks Animal Control Facebook page, saying they saw the animal and wondered what it was.

"The fisher is part of the weasel family. And they follow the rivers and the tributaries around and come and go as they please like weasels, coyotes, other wild animals in the city," says Samson.

Fishers are a little larger than the average cat.

And while they may look cute and cuddly, they can actually be quite vicious.

Kathy Ray, Grand Forks resident, says, "I thought it was a little bear. It looked like a little bear to me. And he looked so cuddly I just wanted to hold him but he wasn't very friendly. He was kind of getting agitated so I was staying away. I was trying not to get too close."

Which is why Grand Forks Animal Control is warning all pet owners: Don't leave your pet unattended outside.

"They have been known to go after cats or small dogs," says Samson.

So Jeff and Kathy brought Daisy back inside with them and admired their visitor from a distance, until he scampered off down the street.

"I just hope this little guy gets out of here. And is safe. And I really don't want anybody to harm it," says Grooten.  

Animal control tells me that fishers tend to live in the wooded areas along the river.

They ask anyone who sees a fisher within city limits to give them a call, and they will try to trap it and release it back into the wild.