Also called the American marten, the pine marten ranges in forests and woodlands across Alaska, Canada and the northern United States. They prefer mixed conifer and hardwood forests that supply their prey, dens and protection. Though they average 21-26 inches from nose to the tip of their tail, their bushy tails comprise about a third of their total length. Their soft fur ranges from a pale buff to dark brown.
Usually shy and curious, pine martens are also solitary and territorial. Neither sex will allow another marten of the same sex in their home territory, though males will tolerate the presence of multiple females. An average male defends a territory of approximately 1-3 square miles. Females are somewhat less enterprising, occupying territories of up to one square mile. An adult marten will usually cover its entire territory in 8-10 days, hunting as it goes.
Pine martens are agile climbers and spend much of their time in trees, where they prey on squirrels and chipmunks. Their diet also includes mice, hares, shrews, birds, bird eggs, amphibians, reptiles, insects, fish, crayfish, nuts, fruit and carrion. Pine martens often make their nests in trees, bearing annual litters of 2-4 young in March or April. Born blind and helpless, the kits’ eyes open after about six weeks, then reach their adult weight at about three months.
Although the IUCN lists the pine marten as Lower Risk, they are Endangered or locally extinct in some parts of their range. Global populations, however, appear to be largely unthreatened.May 07, 2012