montage of foxes, a thistle and a kestrel
Official website of Scotland's premier long distance route

Home The Area Natural History Mammals Pine Marten

Pine Marten

The adult pine marten is the size of a small domestic cat; it is slender with dense, chocolate-brown fur and a long bushy tail. It has a cream-coloured bib on the throat. The male measures on average 68cm from nose to tip of tail. The female is slightly smaller. It is a member of the weasel family.

Persecution by gamekeepers, habitat loss and the decline of its favourite food, the red squirrel, brought the pine marten to the brink of extinction but numbers are now increasing in some areas of Scotland, such as the banks of Loch Lomond. Pine Martens live in holes in trees, old squirrel dreys and even old birds' nests. If it falls from a tree, its body twists to land safely on all fours from as high as 20 metres. Although on the increase, this is still a very rare sight and you would be fortunate indeed to catch a glimpse of this elusive creature.

<< back to Mammals page