The Pine Marten are about the size of a domestic cat and belongs to the weasel family, with long bodies and a dark brown fur blending into a cream coloured throat, they have fairly large eyes and protruding round ears.
They are very good climbers with an excellent grip from their strong claws, with a bushed tail ideal for balancing during difficult climbs. They can jump very well from tree to tree with a very acrobatic style almost looking like they are flying. They have excellent grip during icy conditions due to having fine hairs on the soles of their feet, and they have a typical weasel style run as they jump along the ground rather than the usual typical walk like other local mammals.
Pine Martens Habitat
Pine Martens live in woody areas of native Scots pines and other mixed forests, they have also been known to live in Rocky hillside areas. They are very defensive of the areas they live, and leave droppings on rocks and other prominent objects where they can be easily seen by intruders. They can live in self made nests between rocks and even live in Squirrels and birds nests and can be also seen living in the hollows of trees. After breeding they give birth in April and have up to five young.
What do Pine Martens Eat
Pine Martens have excellent eyesight and exceptional hearing with a very good sense of smell that gives them the ability to find prey. They hunt alone and are very independent animals that hunt at night time whilst resting during the daylight hours. They prey on small mammals consisting of Rabbits, Mice, Birds, Voles and also hunt for frogs and insects. They can be seen at times chasing Squirrels and birds throughout the tree tops and also steal young birds from nests, when live prey is scarce they will eat local berries and fruit. Many people can attract Pine Martens to their bird tables by leaving Jam sandwiches for what they have a strong attraction for, in fact they can’t resist them.
Why Are Pine Martens Rare
The main predator against Pine Martens is in fact Humans but in the wild they are occasionally hunted by the Scottish Wildcat, Golden Eagles and Foxes. The Pine Marten in Scotland was almost extinct in the nineteenth century due to farmers and gamekeepers trapping them because they fed on the lands game birds. They were also captured and killed for their fur to export across to Europe. The destruction of many of Scotland’s forests and natural habitats are another reason why Scotland’s Pine Martens have become rare today, the loss of these forest habitats have had such an impact on not just the Pine Marten but also many of the other animals and plants that once thrived in our great forests.
The Future of the Pine Marten in Scotland
The Pine Martens in Scotland are now on an increase today and are now seen more often in many areas, and in 1988 it was made illegal to kill Pine Martens. Successful re-planting of these many forest and the conservation efforts of land owners and many other groups have also helped increase the amount of Pine Martens in Scotland today and many areas have also had the animal reintroduced with some success.
So it’s looking better for the Pine Marten now and hopefully if you are lucky enough you may see one when on Holiday in Scotland.
David Brown says
Saw a Marten mid May on Durris road near Portlethen Aberdeenshire Has anyone else seen them here? I have been a hillwalker for many years but at 57 this is my first spot.
Derek Beaton says
I just saw one today (June 2022) in Durris, near the school.
janice mason says
pine marten crossed the road in front of my house and came close to my window then passed down the side of the cottage. I am on the outskirts of Falkirk, quite high up ,large gardens ,wooded areas and fields near by.
size of a small cat . I was quite surprised and I thin it was the same when it saw me at the window
I did not think they were in this area
Susan leung says
Just had a pine marten in our large pine tree at back of garden in Bearsden,north of Glasgow,very exciting,the birds were going wild .
George Shearer says
Saw my first ever Pine Marten tonight in Caithness Scotland. It ran out in front of my car but the brakes did their job and he/she made it to the other side safely. A really lovely animal.
Great creature and well done on stopping in time. Wonderful to see good look on future sightings
We have a pine marten come into our garden most evenings eating seed left by the birds, or trying to get into the peanuts. Unfortunately tonight it was dragging one of its back legs ..wish there was something we could do to help it,..hate to think of it in pain or worse die from it’s injury
I saw my first pine Martin on Thursday 26th October 2017 in Caddam wood in Kirriemuir Angus. My two westies ran towards a tree and the pine Martin climbed the tree about 3 yards from me !!! Lovely to see however was not sure what it was until I looked it up
That’s a close encounter, you’re very lucky 🙂
HELEN RICHARDSON says
Saw a pine marten in my garden 29th Dec 2017 at about 11am seems to be there most days
John and Judy Campbell says
We saw our first pine martin today when one visited the garden and feasted in the red squirrel feeder for 15 minutes. That was in Blairmore, Argyll.
There is a small colony of red squirrels here so we hope that they will coexist amicably with the martin.
If you feed them (peanuts) they’ll all co-exist quite happily..
Pauline beadie says
Beautiful wee family nesting in a cottage along the side of loch rannoch. Comes back. Leaves the bird/mouse etc in the guttering then wee baby Martin comes out to feed on it in the guttering .!!!! Absolutely amazing sight and feel very very lucky
I envy you Pauline!! Well done 🙂
I saw a pine Martin tonight crossing the road at Furnace , Argyll.Funnily enough my first pine Martin sighting was in Argyle , knapdale over 20 years ago when I was playing near a burn ..jump down the embankment turned round face to face with a pine Martin . I think we were both wondering who was going to do what …I was worried it would bite me as it was so close and it was probably wondering if I was going to kill it ! Eventually it turned and ran up the banking and away .
Pine Marten (black ) in our garden near Alford at 6pm tonight Oct 8th 2018…ran across patio in front of house and climbed fence to reach our neighbours fruit trees … “Supper ” lasted 10 to 15 mins then he returned to our garden running across lawn and onto the decking surrounding our summer house before disappearing into the bushes . Our neighbour has seen him visit these past few weeks . My 1st encounter . Look forward to his\her next visit .
Fiona Jamieson says
Have had a pine marten vist our garden from November for a few years now, we also have a lot of red squirrels, getting a bit worried now as the marten has been at all 3 feeders tonight and even at the bird feeder by the kitchen window
Can anyone tell me if a Pine Marten is stealing the fat balls we hang in our tree for the birds?They disappear at night ,six at a time out of their holder,no trace of them on the garden in the morning.We live near vast woodland in Ross-shire near the Dornoch Firth.
Yep it is a Pine Marten,we saw him last night on the garden and are now feeding him nightly.
Shona Muir says
Just had a pine marten at our back door in Blanefield . G63. Had a wee wander and then the dog unfortunately spotted it and it ran away. Never seen one in real life before never mind our back door.
We had a pine marten visit us for breakfast when we rented a chalet next to Loch Lochy last summer. He climbed on the posts where we’d put a bit of food out for the birds, and then sat on the porch, seemingly peering in through the glass doors. Back again the next day. It was lovely . We’d didn’t expect it.
Just put some peanut butter sandwiches out at a known spot for Pine Martens at Portuairk, Western Isles. Sitting quietly with baited breath!
W Hepburn says
We had one ,think male in our garden about 2 weeks ago and we spotted the female today chasing a rabbit through our garden . We live between Banff and Turriff
Suzanne Emptage says
Saw my first pine marten yesterday, outside my house, halfway between Perth and Crieff, couldn’t believe it, ran about the grass for a few minutes before disappearing.
Michael McAuley says
Can’t believe first time I have ever seen a Pine marten .
And not just one two off .
With the wife and son at Cambusdarch campsite
What a great thing to see and here then talking to each other
Saw two pine martins in my garden today – Deskford – very cute
Think I saw, a baby pine marten in Dawsholm Park, Bearsden /Glasgow border on Sunday. Took 2 pictures and have compared to pictures online.. Was a lot of rustling further into bushes, but didn’t investigate as I had my dog with me.
MR PAUL CULLEN says
I saw my 1st and only Pine Marten at the Queen Elizabeth National forest Aberfoyle on the 04/04/19 at 08:40 couldn’t believe it, I got a couple of pic’s but really blurry going up on the 12th of Nov with a better camera so fingers crossed
Michelle Kerr says
Had pine martins in garden in Struy, near Cannich in the Highlands, eating peanuts from a window feeder, left some jam and peanut butter in a small plastic container which it stole!!and metoprolol returned ! Been coming most nights and some mornings to eat managed to video it as it doesn’t appear to see me through the window, just inches away!!!
archie mcdougall says
Just had my third and longest siting today 6 March 2020 in Durris Forest . Previous ones outside Drumoak and on the Slug road ……………..so fairly localised area west of Aberdeen ,.
jane w says
had amazing time yesterday, we have a big old silage pit very high with roof and sides it is full of split wood and cord wood. A female has bred in the wood piles for many years ,she loves our hens eggs and we have a lot of trees and natural uncultivated ground. I heard a lot of very loud screeching etc so had a look and 2 youngsters had got up on the steel beams of the shed but could not get back down ….mum was grunting and speaking to them to encourage them…there was lots of panicky running about…then mum went up and tried to carry one down……but she could not,. eventually one very carefully started down hanging on with all its strength then eventually the second one plucked up the courage and got down……my husband has just seen 2 playing and chasing on top of all the wood piles…….amazing
Donald Hills says
Saw a pine marten today crossing the road between Kintore and Kemnay in Aberdeenshire it was a fair size o beastie it looked bigger than a domestic cat!!
Mrs Arlene J Green says
We have several sittings of Pine Martens in our garden, we live at Tayvallich, Argyll.
Pine Marten now living in our garden in North Glasgow. Large garden surrounded by trees but last week was the first I’d ever seen a Pine Marten.
Liz Campbell says
Have just had a pine marten eating peanuts at the bird table outside the kitchen window at 9.30am. Live in Strathlachlan, Argyll.
Kim Stanton says
I live in Stronmilchan Dalmally and I have just had a pine marten bound across my rear garden early morning. It was beautiful. Never seen one before!
Pine Martin seen crossing road in Assynt 10 mls from Lochinver
Shirley Forsyth says
Seen our first Pine Martin in our garden at Foresterseat in Angus on the 31st July 2021 at 11.00am.
Christopher Payne says
Just had a female Pine Marten eating the fat balls left for the birds at around 8:20pm this evening. Two miles north of Arisaig about 150 metres from the sea at Portnaluchaig. Saw a male (larger and darker) earlier today on the drive to the house
Mike Crilly says
Now seen a brown pine martin pass. by the side of our house near Inchmarlo (Aberdeenshire) on two evenings in May 2022. We have woods to front and back of the house (mainly birch) and several mature Scots pines close to the house. We have been living here for 20 years and never seen one before. Two large areas of commercial pine/spruce forests within a mile of our house have been harvested in the last 2 years.
Phyl Robson says
A pine marten visited my bird table at Lochawe , Dalmally on 27 05 22 .The first one I’ve seen in the garden but have seen one at Cruachan Visitor Centre before the Pandemic .