Species: Stone marten

The stone marten (Martes foina) also known as the beech marten is a close relative of the slightly larger pine marten both of which are native to some European and Central Asian countries. Both sorts have a grey to brown fur coat with distinctive light-coloured throat patch which can spread to the front legs; in pine martens this patch is darker, ranging from yellowy-grey to light brown in colour.

The stone marten is approximately cat-sized with short legs and a narrow head. Stone martens are able to adapt to most biotopes but show a preference for rocky areas and buildings. The pine marten is more limited to woodland areas. They are nocturnal animals and agile hunters who are able to climb, swim and run fast in order to predate small rodents and amphibians; they also feed on bird eggs, insects, worms and berries. Stone martens are solitary animals with individual territories stretching over many hectares. Male and female territories overlap and mating occurs between June and August; they have an unusually long gestation period of 9 months, bearing 1-4 young in late spring.

Photo banner: Sponzen Ridder (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sponzenridder/ )

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