Pine Marten Martes martes

An elusive creature, the Pine Marten is mostly found in the North of Britain. It prefers woodlands, climbs very well and lives in holes in trees, in old squirrel dreys or old birds’ nests. Pine Martens feed on small rodents, birds, eggs insects and fruit, and although rare, can be encouraged to visit bird tables. During the mating season, Pine Martens make shrill, cat-like calls. In the spring, they have litters of 3-5 young, which are independent by summer.


Mostly chestnut-brown in colour, Pine Martens have a characteristic pale yellow ‘bib’ on their chin and throat. They have a long bushy tail.


Length: 45cm plus a tail of 25cm Weight: 900g-1.7kg Average lifespan: up to 10 years


Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.


Found in Scotland, North Yorkshire and Northumberland.

When to see

Jan – Dec


Bilberries can make up to 30 % of a Pine Marten’s summer diet resulting in its droppings turning blue in colour. Pine Martens use regular latrines, usually on a boulder or log in a conspicuous spot. When they’re fresh, droppings may have a slimy appearance due to mucous binding them together. They may contain fur, feathers, bones or seeds.

Common name

Pine Marten

Species name

Martes martes

When to see in Scotland

Jan – Dec

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