American martens live throughout Canada, Alaska, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, Northern New York and New Hampshire.
They like old, dense conifer and mixed forests. They live most of their lives up in the trees (arboreal).
Martens are cat-sized members of the weasel family. Their long, slender bodies have dark-brown fur with a light yellow throat and a bushy tail. Males can be up to 40 inches long, including the tail, which is 1/3 of their length. They can weigh up to 15 pounds, but most weigh less. Females are smaller.
They eat all winter and are mostly active at night (nocturnal).
Martens are mostly meat eaters (carnivorous), hunting small animals, like hares, squirrels, birds and frogs. They also eat nuts and fruit and will scavenge dead animals.
Predators large owls and hawks, fishers, lynx, and bobcats.
Female martens have one litter a year in March or April with about 3 young. They have an unusual reproduction cycle. They actually mate in the summer, but don’t become pregnant until January. This allows a late winter to spring birth, without having to find a mate in the middle of winter. Many mammals have this “delayed implantation” including the black bear, badger and fisher.
They live up to 10 years in the wild. They are listed as Lower Risk - least concern.
Species: Martes americana
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Amsel, Sheri. "Marten (American)" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2023. December 6, 2023
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