Up close & personal with a pine marten

Pine martens are native to Scotland but are an uncommon sight. About the same size as an average cat, the pine marten is now a protected species with only an estimated 3,700 adults in Scotland.

Pine marten in the wild.
Pine marten photographed in the Scottish Highlands.
Image credit: BROTY1 on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA

Numbers declined dramatically in the 19th century when they were frequently killed by gamekeepers on sporting estates to stop them eating the young pheasants being reared for shooting. But they are again appearing in areas where they were once common and the native woodlands around Tigh a’ Mhaide are a perfect environment for them. They are beautiful creatures with their dark brown fur, long bushy tails and creamy yellow bibs.

Pine martens are usually active at dusk or during the night but the cheeky individual below paid us a visit in broad daylight to help itself to some lunch from the squirrel feeding box outside our kitchen window.

Pine martens are opportunisitic mammals with a varied diet. This one was caught red-handed taking the opportunity to raid the peanuts in the squirrel feeding box.

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