British wildlife recordings
Martes martes : Pine Marten - Mustelidae
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Kinlochewe, Scottish Highlands: OS Grid Reference(202500,861500)
Pine Marten, Martes martes
The call of the pine marten, recorded at Kinlochewe, Scotland. The pine marten is a rather sleek and beautiful animal, similar in appearance to a lean cat. The coat is a rich, chocolate brown with a cream-coloured throat patch and underside, large ears, and a long bushy tail. It can be distinguished from species such as mink by its characteristic loping gait. The pine marten is rarely seen due to its generally nocturnal habits, but its presence can be detected by the characteristic 'scats', which are twisted and lack a musky smell unlike fox or mink faeces. Generally silent, it will make a shrill 'yowl' call during the mating season. The pine marten is usually found in habitats of mature coniferous forest where it constructs a series of dens in hollow trees or old owl nests. It is highly curious, very agile, and able to move with speed through treetops. Mainly carnivorous, it feeds on small mammals, birds, and insects, although berries are also important in late summer and autumn. Until the 19th century, the pine martens was widespread throughout Britain but large-scale deforestation and intense persecution by gamekeepers greatly reduced both its number and range. Nowadays, it is mainly restricted to Scotland with a few populations in Wales, the Lake District, and Yorkshire.