Earlier this week, I spotted this large weasel-like creature at dawn along the rocky shore of the salt marsh. Its brown fur blended in well with its surroundings. It stood very still when it first noticed me, then moved slowly among the rocks. Once it was on the grass it ran quickly away.
A sign in the marsh reveals that otters have been spotted here. Otters feed primarily on fish which would explain its proximity to the shore. Could this be an otter?
I managed to get closer to this animal than these photographs reveal, but unfortunately, none of those images turned out well. What I did observe at close range was its large fluffy tail. It was covered with black hairs, while its body was medium brown. I don’t recall its tail being as tapered as that of otters. Also, its eyes were more closely set than those wide set ones typical of otters.
So I’m wondering… could it be a fisher? They’re usually crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk). Their diet consists of snowshoe hares and porcupines (both plentiful in this marsh). The fisher population in Nova Scotia is scattered and low.
What do you think this animal might be? [Below I've attempted to sharpen a blurred close-up image of the animal.]
In Nova Scotia, the mustelid or weasel family consists of fishers, martens, short-tailed weasels (ermine), mink, river otters and striped skunks.