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The Pine Marten

The Pine Marten

The pine marten can be found in areas of scrub and woodlands, and Dún a Rí is a suitable home for the pine marten. The pine marten, a member of the mustelid family, is "cat crainn" in Irish meaning "tree cat". The earliest remains of pine marten found in Ireland date back to over 2,700 years ago. Pine marten were once hunted for their valuable fur, known as sable.

Each adult pine marten has its own territory, with a number of dens. Males tend to have much larger territories than females. Pine martens are predators – their diet includes rodents, small birds, frogs and insects and sometimes nuts and berries. They are often seen as pests by farmers when as they like to eat domestic fowl.

Pine marten young, known as "kits", are born in Spring. About three kits and one litter are born per female each year. Kits are born blind and stay in the den for 6-8 weeks with their mother. When the kits are almost fully grown, they leave the den to set up their own territories. The typical lifespan of a pine marten is usually around 8-10 years. In Native American Indian Folklore pine martens are usually portrayed as brave heroes. In the Anishinabe tribes, pine martens are symbols of determination and skill and in California Indian tribes; martens are seen as lucky animals.

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