European Pine Marten Martes martes

Scientific Name: Martes martes (Mustelidae).

English Name: European Pine Marten; Pine Marten; Pineten; Baum Marten; Sweet Marten (Weasel family).

French Name: Martre des pins (='pine marten'); Martre (='marten'); Marte (='marten'); Marte des pins (='pine marten').

Photo courtesy of Kathy Walter.

5 Key Characters:
  • weighs about 1.5 kg, with a body about 50 cm, bushy tail 25 cm. 
  • brown silky fur with a cream bib and chocolate brown nose.
  • partly arboreal but bound quickly across the ground too.
  • mainly nocturnal and crepuscular.
  • rounded ears.

Lookalikes: Beech Marten Martes fouina, which is more rarely seen and has a white bib which divides to extend on to the front legs and a pink nose.

Habitat: Heavily wooded areas, usually sleeping in hollow trees. Carnivorous, their diet consists mainly of small mammals, birds, insects, frogs and carrion, but they will also eat berries, birds eggs, meat, nuts and honey. Much less likely to be seen near human habitation than the Beech Marten.

Status: Abundant. Their biggest threat is from humans, either directly or indirectly. The species may be killed by vermin control measures (and may or may not be the target species). It is legal for professional hunters to trap and shoot them and their fur is still valuable. It is illegal to poison them. Loss or fragmentation of woodland has also impacted on their population.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

In the Forêt de Preuilly, early morning, June. Photo courtesy of Kathy Walter.


  1. Add: Chocolate Brown nose
    The Beech Marten has a PINK nose...
    The Vincent Trust has pointed out that the bib-running -into-the-legs...
    happens in BOTH species... just an awful lot less in the Pine Marten.

  2. Yes, good point. I forgot the nose distinction.