Massif des monts Sutton BioKit: mammals

The Fisher, an Amazing Predator!

Fisher. Photo: © Critterbiz/

This member of the weasel family is the region's greatest hunter. It roams the forest day and night in all seasons. It is known as one of the few predators brave and agile enough to hunt porcupines. As a result, its head, neck and chest end up covered in quills!

If you were a fisher, what would you find to eat?

Snowshoe hare in its winter coat Photo: © Amber Estabrooks/
Sample one-month menu for an adult fisher:
  • one snowshoe hare or two squirrels
  • 60 mice
  • one porcupine

The Bobcat and Its Prey

The bobcat will eat any of the small mammals in the forest including the snowshoe hare. Interesting fact: The snowshoe hare and the bobcat both have long, powerful hindlegs that enable them to
run quickly in the snow. Who will win the race?

How Eastern Chipmunks "Chatter"

Eastern chipmunk. Photo: © robag/
Eastern chipmunks use a variety of sounds to communicate. They can utter hundreds of chip-chip-chip calls a minute for 10 minutes! By doing so, they warn one another about danger, mark their territory and stay in contact while storing their winter reserves.

Stop for a minute and be silent. Do you hear chipmunks or other animals?

Detective for a Day

Follow the traces left behind... Most animals are discreet or nocturnal, but they leave many traces behind them.

Like a detective, observe closely to spot signs of their presence. No need to go very far -- animals also use these trails when there are few hikers out.

Check the signs you noticed during your outing:

  • Animal footprints in the mud or snow
  • Branch browsed by a deer or moose, or nibbled by a hare or porcupine
  • Bark stripped off by a deer or moose
  • Claw marks on a tree
  • Droppings
  • Squirrel's or bird's nest in a tree or woodpecker hole
  • Other (hole in the ground, eggs, fur, bones, deer or moose antlers, quills, calls or smells)

Did you know that...

Black bears adore beechnuts, the nuts from the American beech. The nuts' high nutritional value helps bears store fat for the winter.

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