Do Pine Martens Hibernate?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:51 pm

The marten is a very active animal and does not stop at the car as well as the chicken coop or other smaller farm animals. He is very aggressive in his approach and due to his killing reflex it happens that he single-handedly dismantles a complete chicken coop. Although he cannot use all the chickens as prey, he kills them anyway.

Is there at least less danger of a marten attack in winter and does the marten perhaps hibernate there? Finally, you could use the winter to rebuild the chicken coop and set up the defenses in peace.

Do Pine Martens Hibernate?

The bad news right up front. The marten does not hibernate and is equally active in both winter and summer. He is therefore a danger to your animals all year round.

In winter, he remains true to his natural rhythm and he goes hunting during the night. But even if the marten does not hibernate, are there other things you need to pay attention to in winter and does this season have other peculiarities for driving away the marten?

Marder Wintscherschlaf

Damage caused by the marten in winter

So, the real marten, which includes the stone marten, which stays in the vicinity of humans, does not hibernate. Now at least there could be a hope that the marten will at least be a little quieter in winter and spend a large part of it sleeping and resting for the spring.

However, this hope must be taken away from you also directly again. Because even in winter, the marten needs its usual food.

The problem here is that the food supply in winter is scarcer than in summer. While the marten can feed on berries and fruits in summer, for example, these are of course not available in winter.

This makes it difficult for the marten to obtain food. In order to take in enough food, it increasingly seeks the proximity of humans in winter. Food from the garbage can as well as a warm sleeping place in the engine compartment of your car or in the attic are strong attractants for the marten.

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The marten’s closer proximity also causes more damage. This is because when looking for a suitable place to sleep, it can quickly happen that martens cross foreign territories.

In the engine compartment, this can lead to uncontrolled aggressive behavior, so that greater damage is to be assumed here. If you do not want to offer the marten a warm refuge, then you should protect your engine compartment and attic in particular.

With ultrasound, you can very effectively keep the marten away from these places and protect the property. A marten grid can also be placed under the vehicle to make the animal flee.

The diet of the marten in winter

The marten belongs to the genus of omnivores. It can feed on plants as well as on small animals. Primarily, however, the marten is a predator that feeds on small animals.

Here, mice, birds and insects are the main prey. The energy consumption of the nimble marten is very high and therefore it must consume many calories.

In summer this should not be a problem by hunting and eating berries and fruits. In winter, however, the food supply is more scarce. Here it can come to the fact that the marten will increasingly try to search your garbage can for food.

If the marten is successful in this, he will visit the garbage can again and again. So you should either not throw away any food or even better secure the garbage can with a lock.

You also don’t need to worry about the marten starving in the winter. There are still enough prey available in nature. However, the garbage can is the much more comfortable option for him.

In winter, martens prefer to eat small prey such as mice or other rodents, but the garbage can is also a favorite target.

In the case of the marten, however, this is different. Since the marten does not hibernate and continues to be very active and can also cause some damage, it may continue to be hunted.

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There is no hunting protection against the marten during the winter and if you have a problem with the marten, then you yourself may continue to act against the marten.

So you can set traps against the marten yourself or at least use a suitable marten spray to drive it away.

However, the hunting season on the marten is over when the young animals are born in spring and summer. Stone martens may only be hunted until the end of February. After that, the hunting season does not start again until October.

This restriction is intended to prevent mother animals from being shot and their young helplessly exposed to nature without a mother.

Since the marten does not hibernate, this time of year is best for hunting the marten.

Use the winter to your own advantage

The marten continues to be active during the winter. If you want to take action against the marten, this time of year has some advantages for you that you can use to your advantage to fight the marten.

Tracking in the snow

Marder Winter Spuren

Of course, not all winter there is snow in the fields and on your property. When the winter shows its best side and covers the ground with snow, then this is particularly advantageous for hunting the marten.

Although the marten is a very nimble animal, it still can not move completely without tracks in the snow. The tracks are very similar to a cat. However, in most cases, the cat will be afraid of the snow and avoid it. So, if you see cat-like tracks in the snow, then it is reasonable to assume that they come from a marten.

To more accurately distinguish the marten’s tracks from a cat, you can look for the fact that the marten has five toes and cannot retract its claws.

You can follow the tracks to see if the marten has a roost near you. Do the tracks perhaps lead to your car or in the attic?

If so, you should set up appropriate defenses in that vicinity and use ultrasound or set up traps. This way you can use the snow to your advantage.

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No young animals

If you take action against the marten, then there could be a risk that young animals are in danger. For example, if you set traps or try to drive the marten away in the summer, then either young animals may be left behind, or the marten may not be easily driven away.

Because if the marten has young animals in the attic, he will hardly abandon them. This makes driving them away much more difficult.

In the winter the young animals, which came in the spring to the world, are however already so adult that they stand on own legs. They have left the parental care and are completely independent.

This has the advantage that you can drive the marten away more easily, as it is more likely to give up its territory. Likewise, there is no risk of leaving young behind when you kill the marten.

Thus, the marten does not hibernate, nor is it protected from hunting in the winter. This time of year is therefore an ideal opportunity to take action against the marten.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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