photo by SolidElectronics CC BY-NC

American Marten, Pine Marten

Marten are members of the weasel family. They are about the same size as a cat (21-26 in from nose to tip of tail) with a long, slender body, short legs, a triangular head, and a long, bushy tail. They have a gray head, a light brown back, dark brown legs and tail, and a cream-colored patch on their chest.

Solitary inhabitants of the northern evergreen forests of Alaska and Canada as well as the mountainous areas of the northern United States, Marten are active in winter. They are good climbers and spend much of their time in trees. They often make their nest in a tree where 2-4 young are born in March or April.

Could it be? Mink are a similar size but spend most of their time in or near water. Fisher are twice the size of a Marten and don't usually have a chest patch.

Did you know? Marten have large foot pads that help them to walk on deep snow in winter. They also grow longer hair between their foot pads in winter, which helps to keep their feet warm.

See Also: 13-lined Ground Squirrel, Bushy-tailed Woodrat, Least Chipmunk, Marmot, Pika, Red-tailed Chipmunk, Richardson's Ground Squirrel, Squirrel, Weasel, Yellow-pine Chipmunk