Can A Fisher Cat Kill A Coyote? You May Be Surprised!

The fisher cat (Pekania pennanti) is part of the weasel family but is more ferocious than many of its sister species.

With sharp teeth and claws, fishers are impressive predators that can take down large animals. But can a fisher cat kill a coyote?

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Can A Fisher Cat Kill A Coyote?

A fisher cat would likely not be able to kill a coyote. Fisher cats can take down large predators, but coyotes are not usually among them. 

Fishers are aggressive carnivores, preying on rabbits, rodents, chickens, and other small animals.

Their diet is very similar to the coyote’s diet. But there are no records of fishers killing coyotes. They are known to occasionally take on predators larger than themselves, however.

Despite averaging only two to three feet long, they are not afraid of attacking a large animal, such as a lynx, if the opportunity presents itself.

Lynx are twice their size and equipped with similar teeth and claws, yet fishers are one of their predators in Maine.

If they can kill lynx, why don’t they kill coyotes?

Can A Fisher Cat Kill A Coyote

Coyotes Sometimes Prey On Fisher Cats

By investigating dead fishers that have been predated upon, biologists have found coyotes are occasional predators of fishers. This suggests that the winner between coyotes versus fishers is the coyote. 

Unlike the coyote, lynx don’t hunt for fishers. The fishers are likely more confident, then, when facing off with a lynx versus a coyote.

When facing a coyote, they likely have the natural instinct to run rather than fight. But coyotes don’t hunt fisher cats very often.

One study in California found that fishers were only preyed on by coyotes 6% of the time. Coyotes like easy meals, and fishers aren’t the easiest animals to kill. 

Fishers Have Some Advantages Over Coyotes

As impressive predators themselves, fisher cats have teeth made for tearing flesh and retractable claws, which keep them sharp.

Coyotes’ claws are non-retractable, which dulls them over time since they’re always out. 

Fishers are bold predators, being one of the few animals that will attack porcupines. They do so by biting their face and flipping them over, all while avoiding their defensive quills. 

Fishers are also fast animals. With their sharp claws and cat-like bodies, they are skilled at climbing trees.

Coyotes are not great climbers and would not be able to chase a fisher cat up a tree. 

But coyotes are larger in size than fisher cats, and that gives them an edge. Coyotes also have stronger jaws, allowing for a more powerful bite to the throat. So coyotes tend to be the predator, and fishers the prey.

Will A Fisher Cat Attack A Dog?

Despite their reputation for being vicious animals, fishers are not aggressive towards humans or domestic pets.

They may view small animals like cats as prey if the opportunity arises, but would not attack a medium or large-sized dog.

Fishers are shy and solitary creatures that prefer staying in the woods. They tend to avoid humans and as a result, are not a major threat to domestic animals. 

Can A Wolverine Kill A Coyote?

With their muscular bodies, large claws, and strong jaws, an adult wolverine would be able to kill a coyote. 

Wolverines are very similar to fisher cats but are twice as large. Against a wolverine, a coyote no longer has a size advantage. 


Fisher Cats Compete With Coyotes For Resources But Do Not Kill Them

Fishers and coyotes are often in a competitive relationship since they go after the same prey. But if resources are limited, a predatory relationship may emerge, with coyotes coming out on top. 


A fisher cat has impressive teeth and claws that can harm a coyote and maybe even kill it, but this does not happen very often.

A coyote is more likely to prey on a fisher cat than to be killed by one.