Pine marten

LIVING HABITS

The pine marten feels most at home in old uninhabited conifer forests. There it hunts for small mammals and birds, frogs and insects, and may also eat berries and carrion. Like other members of the weasel family, pine martens are solitary and purely night-active. When searching for food, the pine marten both travels on the ground and climbs nimbly in trees. Its nest hole is often in a tree as well; an old black woodpecker hole or a squirrel nest suits it just as well as a natural hole. The pine marten breeds in all of Finland, except the mountain areas.

PROTECTION

The pine marten was hunted to near extinction in the first decades of the 1900’s, but the population has later rebounded. Nowadays the pine marten is a game animal, and the annual quarry is about 15 000-20 000 individuals.

ADAPTING TO THE WINTER

The pine marten sheds its fur into a thick one for the winter. It is hunted for its fur ever today. Its pads of the paws have thick papillae in the winter. The pine marten, particularly in Lapland, knows the isolative qualities of the snow, and likes to stay in a hole of a rock or under a fallen tree resting during the day.

Pine marten

Martes martes

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FAMILY:

SIZE: Weight: 700-1800g, length: 42-56cm + length of tail 20-28cm, male larger than female.

BREEDING: Heat: June-August, delayed fetogenesis; the embryonic development starts first the next spring, about 1 month before the first litter is born in April-May. Offspring: 2-5 at a time. Independent in 4 months, sexual maturity reached in 1 year.

LIFESPAN: 8 -10 years.

Did you know that a squirrel climbing up to the tree doesn’t escape the pine marten, but the pine marten climbing to the tree may be safe from his own predators? In a thick spruce tree a pine marten is both safe from owls and golden eagles prowling in the air, as well as from foxes preying on the ground.