- Common name: American Marten
- Scientific name: Martes americana
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Mustelidae
Also known as
Pine Marten, Marten
- Martens are furtive and secretive and leave few signs of their presence. You might catch a glimpse of one stealing from your campsite.
- Daybreak and twilight hours are best for marten viewing where you might see them hunting voles in a meadow or mature spruce forest.
- The best time of year to look for marten is in the late fall and early winter when juveniles disperse.
- Sharp, pale face, stand-up ears, black whiskers.
- Long weasel body and long bushy tail.
- Pale buff to dark brown fur with a patch of orange at the throat.
- Large furry feet, semi-retractable claws.
- Length: 50 cm
- Weight: 0.5 to 1.4 kg
- Lifespan: 10 years but they average 5 years
- Predators: Raptors, lynx, bears, wolves
- Habitat: Boreal Forest
- Yukon: S5 (Secure)
- Global: G5 (Secure)
Yukon population estimate
Martens are solitary, except for mating season and while a mother is raising her young. They each have an approximately 5 km2 territory where they live and hunt. They are carnivores and don't store food for winter months so they are always searching for food. American Martens have limited body-fat reserves and lose body heat rapidly. They will frequently rest to conserve energy, tunneling under the snow to a warm cavity in a hollow log or tree stump. To further conserve energy, they may even go into daily torpor, where they reduce their metabolism and body temperature and stop moving for a short period of time.
Voles, deer mice, squirrel, lemmings, shrews, birds, eggs, hare and carrion.
Sights and sounds
American Martens and people
- Marten skins were used to make fur robes for higher-class persons. "Wealth woman," a mythical figure known to the Tagish, Tutchone and Tlingit people, wore such a garment.
- One of the most cost-effective furbearing animals to trap. Because it is curious, the marten is also one of the easiest animals to trap. This makes it vulnerable to over-harvesting.
- The biggest effect on marten populations is loss of habitat from large forest fires and clear-cut logging.