Print Posted By Lost in France on 24 Nov 2005 in Wildlife - Wildlife and nature in France

Pine Martens

The Pine MartenPine Marten - Martes martes
Pine Martens are attractive animals belonging to the weasel family which includes Polecats, Stoats and Otters, they are native to Europe. Their fur is a dark chocolate brown colour and they are distinguishable by a white or cream coloured bib on their throats. Adult Pine Martens grow up to 75 cm long and have a long bushy tail. On average they weigh about 1 1/2 kilos with males as much as 2.2 kilos and are about the size of a domestic cat. Unfortunately they were also once prized for their fur.

Pine Martens are solitary and territorial animals marking their territory with droppings or "scats". Their most active time is at night, dawn and dusk they are also quite playful and inquisitive creatures.

Pine Martens are arboreal meaning that they live mostly in trees, they are incredibly graceful creatures with large paws and retractable claws which help them to leap effortlessly from tree to tree. In winter their coat is thicker and they also have fur growing on the pads of their paws.

The Pine MartenTheir diet is varied and seasonal it can consists of birds, small mammals, mice, beetles, berries and carrion, although they spend much time in the trees their food is hunted mostly on the ground.

Breeding takes place in the summer but implantation of the fertilised eggs is usually delayed and the young are born in the spring. Litters of between one and five young are born blind and helpless and are only fully independent after about 4 months.

Their lifespan in the wild is about 3 - 5 years. Apart from Man their main predators are foxes.

French for Pine Marten - Martre

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