Saturday, September 4, 2010

European Pine Marten

Martes martes can be found throughout Europe. While some populations have become habitat generalists, most Martens prefer forested areas, where they can live semi-arboreal lifestyles and remain protected from predators. They are about the size of a domestic cat, with a body length of roughly 20in, and an additional tail length of 10in. Males are slightly larger and heavier than females.

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European Pine Martens are a brown to reddish-brown color, with a yellowish colored patch on the neck and chest. Their coats are thicker during the winter, and more coarse during the summer. Martens were, and still are in some places, hunted for their winter coats.

European Pine Martens are omnivores, though they prefer meat above anything else. Their diet consists of smaller mammals, insects, birds, and frogs. They will also eat carrion, fruit, nuts, and honey. They are nocturnal, solitary creatures that mark their territories using scent glands. Martens become more social during the summer mating season, and after meting the females are able to delay implantation, causing their pregnancies to actually begin in early spring. Young Martens are born blind, deaf, and toothless, and will take about 6 months to become fully independent.

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