Pine marten

This agile tree dwelling mammal is part of the badger and otter family. It has a dark brown coat and a bushy tail. Each pine marten has a unique bib pattern under its chin and down its chest, which can be coloured from an orange-yellow to almost white. They have large rounded ears that stick up from the sides of their heads. A male can be almost twice the size and weight of a female.

Pine martens have a distinctive bouncing run when on the ground moving front feet and rear feet together. They may stop and stand upright on their haunches to get a better view. They are athletic climbers and can hunt and catch red squirrels in trees.

Photo credit: Wild West

Active throughout the year, this mainly nocturnal species is sometimes seen hunting on summer evening. In some areas of forestry planting, they will deliberately mark their territories by depositing their dung on the track.

This is a forest species found in coniferous and mixed woodland and has spread across most of the Highlands. It has been successfully re-introduced by translocation to the Glentrool area of Dumfries & Galloway.

In August the larger male courts the female, who will usually also have her sub-adult twins of that year in tow. There is usually a lot of cat-like yowling around the mating period. The female has delayed implantation, like the roe deer. Young males often spend the winter in the territory of the male that mated with their mother that summer. The young females can stay in the mother’s territory.



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