The stone marten is the most common species of marten that seeks human contact. It leaves a typical footprint, by which it can be recognized and distinguished from other animals.

construction of the footprint

Marten tracks are composed of three levels that are separate:

  • The ball
  • toes
  • claws

The arrangement of the individual toes is more like a narrow fan. This means each toe points in a specific direction.

claws visible

The visible claws are typical of the footprint of the marten. Although the marten is a predator, it cannot retract its claws like cats. Each paw consists of five toes, at the end of which the claws are also visible on the imprints. The tips of the claws also always point in the direction in which the toes point. This also allows the track to be distinguished from other predators that cannot retract their claws, such as dogs.

Note: Although the claws are also recognizable in other animal species, only the marten tracks have a regularity that dogs or foxes, for example, do not have.

Arrangement of marten tracks

Not only the print itself is an indication of an animal species, but also how these tracks are arranged. For this it is necessary to take a closer look at the form of locomotion of martens. Depending on how fast the marten moves, the appearance of the tracks also changes.

escape lane:

  • Forefeet almost level
  • Hind feet slightly offset

When escaping, the animals must move as quickly as possible. It would therefore be a nuisance if they had a hopped gait that was significantly slower and also not of that length.


  • three paws slightly offset on one level
  • a paw hired behind

Some species have occasional hopping locomotion, especially when relaxed or orienting themselves. It is typical for this that the individual paws are all arranged without a great distance from one another. As a result, martens do not cover great distances, but this form of locomotion allows them to explore their surroundings.

Note: Such an arrangement of the footprints is usually limited to just a few tracks. Usually they have a light or strong hopping locomotion.

Normal movement:

  • Front feet in pairs on one level
  • Hind feet in pairs on one level

If the animal is not rushed, this is easy to recognize because the prints are always arranged in pairs. This also results in a hopping movement, but it is much rounder than the hopping track.

Possible confusion

Although the marten tracks are very characteristic, confusion with other animal species cannot be ruled out.

This includes:

  • dog
  • Fuchs
  • Pepper
  • squirrel
  • cat
  • racoon

Cats can be easily excluded because no claws are visible. Raccoons, squirrels and beavers do not have divided footprints and pads, toes and claws form an unbroken line. Dogs and foxes can be recognized by the fact that the respective middle toes are slightly bent towards each other and are not evenly distributed like a fan like in the marten.

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