The pine marten and the stone marten are two very similar species, both existing in our region. They are secretive, nocturnal and largely arboreal, meaning they are rarely seen despite the fact that some have adapted to living in village settings. They will often have their dens in barns, roof spaces and even in the engine compartments of vehicles! More naturally, they are largely restricted to forested areas, especially the pine marten, which avoids open areas and rarely comes to the ground.
Although they have a reputation as a bit of a troublemaker, chewing through electrical wires and sometimes raiding chicken houses, they actually have an important role to play. They are very adept and agile hunters, making them the perfect rodent controllers around villages. They also depend heavily on fruits and nuts during the autumn and are one of the main seed dispersers for these trees.
The physical differences between these two species are difficult to see. The pine marten has darker fur, a small yellowish throat, big ears and a dark nose. Whereas the stone marten has a much paler, silvery fur, a larger white throat patch, small ears and a pale nose. One of these species, is more common and much more regularly seen on our camera traps…can you tell which one?