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American marten

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American marten
American Marten 1.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Martes americana

  • M. a. abieticola
  • M. a. albeitinoides
  • M. a. actuosa
  • M. a. americana
  • M. a. atrata
  • M. a. caurina
  • M. a. humboldtensis
  • M. a. kenaiensis
  • M. a. nesophila
  • M. a. origensis
  • M. a. sierrae
  • M. a. vancourverensis
  • M. a. vulpina[1]
American Marten 2.jpg
American Marten

The American Marten is part of the weasel family and are often mistaken to be a weasel or ferret. Martens are unique and have a few major aspects that set them apart. [2] They are mostly nocturnal to avoid other day time predators but they also will be active during the day. They are mainly carnivorous, but sometimes they will settle for more fruits and berries.[3] Martens are mostly found in places like Canada, Alaska, in the northern forest, and south through the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada ranges, and near the Great Lakes and New England.[4]

Body Design

The multiple colors of an American Marten.

The American Marten is a slender animal that has a fluffy tail. The tail is usually about one third of the length of the Marten's body. The Marten's ears are too big in proportion to their head and they have a pointed snout similar to a fox. Females are normally smaller than the males. Females weight usually ranges from about 1.5-1.8 pound and for males 1.6-2.8 pounds. [5] The American Marten is often mistaken to be the fisher, which is a member of the weasel family as well. But fishers are much bigger and can be differentiated by it's unique tracks.

The Marten's color options are numerous, from yellow to red to brown. But they have a pattern of the colors. The throat is usually lightly buff colored, their legs and underfur is a much darker brown.[6] As stated previously, the tracks of a marten are no the same as a fisher. The marten has large hind paws and smaller front paws. American Marten paws have large foot pads which helps them to travel in the snow, and fur between their pads to keep them warm. The marten's long fur helps disguise their size by making their tracks much wider then reality.[7]

Life Cycle

American Marten Kits

The American Martens breed in the summer months such as July and August. Like all mammals they reproduce sexually, and give birth later in the spring months (March or April). Each pregnancy produces 1 to 5 new baby kits. Females give birth to their young in a den that the martens dwell in very often. When the young are older they move out and find a new den. American Marten parental involvement is not yet documented, but we do that when the kit grows to be about 1 year old they are fully grown and able to reproduce. But reproduction usually doesn't occur until they are about 2 years old. [8]

On average the American Marten lives to be about 17. [9] American Marten groups can be about 1.7 martens per square km. This is considered a good size for a group. Later on in their life, martens will begin to mark their territory when accompanied by another Marten that is the same sex. They also will begin to scream in communication. [10]


A map showing were the American Marten are located

Near the end of the 1800's there was a very large amount of American Martens in the US. But some people began to start trapping them and their population began to get smaller and smaller. The increase of hunting was provoked by royalty wanting to wear the fur as clothing. [11]

Martens are very common and important to Maine. They are very important for larger predators, and for hunters. Some people actually make blankets out of marten fur. Due to the weather, martens are thought to decrease because of lack of habitat.[12] Martens may also be decreasing from hunters and predators, but they are not endangered. [13]

Fur Market

American Marten fur merchandise is sold for hundreds of dollars on websites like Ebay. The fur is created into coats, hides, and scarves because of it's incredibly soft texture.[14] Martens are pretty small animals, and are caught in small traps. Trappers use footholds, conibears, and snares when hunting Marten. [15] Hunters are required to in turn the skulls of martens to a wild life association.

Pelt tagging rules include depositing pelts to fish, wildlife, parks or to a park ranger. The skulls of marten need to be able to be identified as a male of female, if turned into a Wildlife Association. [16]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Martes americana Wikispecies. Web. Date of modification: 21 November 2013 Unknown Author.
  2. American Marten The Website of everything. Web. Access: January 27, 2015. Unknown Author.
  3. American Marten The Website of everything. Web. Access: January 27, 2015. Unknown Author.
  4. Martes americana Idaho Museum of Natural History. Web. Accessed: January 27, 2015. Unknown Author.
  5. American Marten New York State GOV. Web. Last Update: 2015. Unknown Author.
  6. American Marten Web. Updated: 2011. Unknown Author.
  7. American or Pine Marten Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Web. Last Update: 2015. Unknown Author
  8. American marten Encyclopedia of life. Web. Accessed January 27, 2015. Unknown Author.
  9. American Marten Bio Kids. Web. Access: January 27, 2015. Unknown Author.
  10. Greater Yellowstone Pine Marten "Greater Yellowstone" Web. Access: January 27, 2015. Unknown Author.
  11. Streubel, Donald. American Marten Digital Atlas of Idaho. Web. Date of publication: 2000.
  12. American marten (Martes americana) ecology and conservation U.S. Forest Service. Web. Accessed January 27, 2015. Unknown Author.
  13. American marten population ecology and role in forest community dynamics Cooperative Research Units. Web. Last updated: January 20, 2015. Unknown Author.
  14. Marten Pelt Ebay. Web. Access: January 27, 2015. Unknown Author.
  15. Marten Trapping Today. Web. Access: January 27, 2015. Unknown Author.
  16. Marten Montana Trapper Association. Web Accessed: February 9, 2015. Unknown Author.