The marten is a shy animal that hunts prey under cover of darkness. A direct encounter in the home garden is therefore unlikely. But the traces left behind reveal his presence.

clue search

The real marten, scientifically known as Martes , is shy and mainly out and about at night. Rarely will the garden owner meet him directly. Instead, he must look for telltale clues. The more he discovers and correctly interprets, the more reliably he can recognize the presence of a marten.

Note: In Germany, it is mainly the stone marten, scientifically known as Martes foina, that invades human settlements. He can be recognized by the white spot on his throat. The pine marten, on the other hand, has a yellow-brown throat patch and lives in forests.

Martens don’t dig

Holes and tunnels in the garden soil as well as churned up beds are not the work of Martes. If you make such discoveries, consider rabbits, moles, hedgehogs, rats, and voles . Larger digs may have come from foxes or badgers. At most, martens dig short corridors near chicken and rabbit coops in order to get to the fenced-in prey.

Note: This rodent can also be useful in gardens because it eats all kinds of pests, such as voles. He does not damage plants, only occasionally he takes a few berries and fruits.

The marten building

It is already an exaggeration to speak of a marten building at all. Martes doesn’t build a home for himself, preferring to use abandoned dwellings of other animal species or look for suitable retreats:

  • tree trunks
  • low tree cavities
  • cairn
  • crevices
  • but also roof truss or barn
  • little used garage or garden shed

Telltale traces of feces

If the stone marten has chosen your garden as a permanent territory, sooner or later you will be confronted with its droppings. Because unlike cats, he does not bury it. He looks for a permanent place in the toilet because he keeps going back. So you will probably find old and young feces at the same time. You can recognize it by the following features:

  • 8 to 10 cm long, up to 2 cm thick
  • sausage-shaped, often with twisted tips
  • dark gray to brown-black
  • smells intensely of musk
  • with visible remains of food
  • for example: fur, feathers, small bones, kernels and fruit seeds
Tip: The stone marten does not defecate where it retreats, but it does not bother to look for a place far away from the marten den either. Therefore, the location can give an indication of where he hides during the day.

Malodorous scent marks

Nobody needs to have a particularly keen nose to recognize the presence of a marten in the garden by smell. On the one hand, its scent is very intense, on the other hand, it is sprayed in large quantities. The extensive setting of scent marks serves to mark the territory and is done as follows, by:

  • droppings
  • Urinate
  • targeted spraying of glandular secretions

A musky odor emanates from all of these scent markers, particularly from the glandular secretions. Since many scent markings are placed across the board and are regularly renewed, the smell is not only perceptible to competitors, but also to people. It is unanimously described as foul-smelling.

seasonal noise

Martens don’t like to come into sight. However, they are not afraid to make noise that cannot escape our ears. If you follow these loud noises, you will quickly recognize where the marten den is located. But although the animal lives in the garden all the time, noise is to be expected primarily during these times:

  • during the rancid period in the summer months from June to August
  • then the males court loudly for the female
  • defend their territory with shrill, cat-like “screeches”.
  • from March, for about six months, the freshly thrown young animals make a noise
  • Rumbling, hissing and shrill screams can be heard from the marten den

Noise is an important criterion for distinguishing it from Wiesel. Precisely because their excretions are similar in appearance and smell.

Visible paw prints

If the garden soil is covered with white snow, the beech marten can leave clearly visible paw prints on it, as it does not hibernate. In addition, he can also leave them in a very sandy bed at any time. It is not easy to immediately assign them to the marten. A cat’s paw could also be responsible for this. But you can clearly identify the culprit by the number of claws. The marten has one more claw than the cat, namely five.

Note: Even if you are quite sure that a marten animal is causing damage in your garden, you should not act prematurely. This animal species is subject to the Hunting Act. Only hunters or professional exterminators are allowed to catch and possibly kill animals.

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