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Home » Flora and Fauna » Mammels in the Danube Delta » European Pine Marten

European Pine Marten

The European Pine Marten also known as Pineten, baum marten, or sweet marten, is an animal native to Northern Europe belonging to the mustelid family, which also includes mink, otter, badger, wolverine and weasel. It is about the size of a domestic cat. Its body is up to 53 cm in length (21 inches), and its bushy tail can be 25 cm (10 inches). Males are slightly larger than females; on average a marten weighs around 1.5 kg (3.5 lb). Their fur is usually light to dark brown and grows longer and silkier during the winter months. They have a cream to yellow colored "bib" marking on their throats.

Their habitats are usually well-wooded areas. European Martens usually make their own dens in hollow trees or scrub-covered fields. Martens are the only mustelids with semi-retractable claws. This enables them to lead more arboreal lifestyles, such as climbing or running on tree branches, although they are also relatively quick runners on the ground. They are mainly active at night and dusk. They have small rounded, highly sensitive ears and sharp teeth for eating small mammals, birds, insects, frogs, and carrion. They have also been known to eat berries, bird's eggs, meat, nuts and honey. European Martens are territorial animals, they mark their range by depositing feces in prominent locations.

The European Pine Marten has lived to 18 years in captivity, but in the wild a lifespan of eight to ten years is more typical. They reach sexual maturity at two or three years of age. The young are usually born in March or April after a month-long gestation period in litters of one to five. Young European Pine Martens weigh around 30 grams at birth. The young begin to emerge out of their dens by the middle of June and are fully independent around six months after their birth.