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Beech Marten

The Beech Marten also known as the Stone Marten, is the most common species of marten in Central Europe. Beech martens are long, slender, short-legged predators with long, bushy tails. They grow to a size of 40 to 50 cm in body length and weigh up to two kilograms. Their brown coats have a forked white marking at the throat, which distinguishes them in appearance from the pine Marten whose throat marking is cream-coloured and more rounded.

Beech martens frequently live in areas of human settlement, often in attic spaces, but can also be found in the countryside, although they avoid areas where there is no cover. They inhabit the whole of mainland Europe as well as Western and Central Asia. Beech martens sleep in cover during the day, and hunt for food in the twilight. They are omnivores and their diet includes smaller mammals, earthworms, small to medium-sized birds, eggs, and fruit. In turn, they are sometimes preyed upon by raptors such as the Golden Eagle, and larger predators such as wolves or lynxes.

The mating season lasts from June to August, the gestation period is increased through delayed implantation, which leads to young being born in March or April. A litter consists of 2 to 4 young.

Beech martens are noted for their habit of damaging cars by biting through ignition leads and brake hoses and pulling apart insulation boards. This might be caused by the presence of territorial markings of other martens in the engine compartment. Beech martens also creep into outbuildings where they eat not only eggs but also poultry and rabbits. Beech martens characteristically leave small droppings to mark territory, often on raised land.

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