Pine marten

Species profile

Name: the pine marten (Martes martes) – also known as the European pine marten, baum marten, or sweet marten – is a member of the mustelid family native to Northern Europe.

Appearance: their fur is usually light to dark brown with a cream or yellowed coloured bib around their throats. In summer their fur is short and coarse, growing longer and silkier in the winter.

Size: pine martens reach around 50 cm in length with their long bushy tails adding another 25 cm. They typically weigh around 1.5 kg.

Diet: their diet is made up of small mammals, birds, insects, and fruits. The recovery of pine martens in the UK has actually been found to benefit red squirrel populations as they are more likely to eat the rival grey squirrels. This is because grey squirrels spend more time on the ground than the smaller red squirrels who evolved alongside the pine martens, and so are more at risk.

Did you know: martens are the only mustelids which can retract their claws. This allows them to live life in the trees Рclimbing, running, and scrambling through the branches. They are highly territorial and mark their range by leaving faeces in visible locations. Their droppings are typically a dark black colour with a twisted shape that can smell like flowers!

Location: they are found in forests across Northern Europe. In the UK the population was restricted for many years to the North West of Scotland. Thanks to the protection of this species and restoration of its habitat, they have started to spread throughout Scotland and even into Northern England. In 2015 a reintroduction programme was set up to introduce pine martens to Wales. You can read more about the project here.

Where to see pine martens

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see pine martens in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Loch Ness
very low
very good
Forest of Dean
very low
very good

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