A nightmare of every gardener and especially motorists is the marten. This animal can cause considerable damage, so early emphasis should be placed on preventing martens from gaining access to the property.
However, the marten is not just a marten, but a large family of animals. The family of martens includes, among others, weasel, otter and polecat. This already shows that the marten is not just one animal that should be kept away, but a family.
Therefore, it becomes difficult to recognize when the garden is threatened by a marten. The male marks his territory with droppings and urine. When he is foraging at night, he will mark his territory and these tracks can help identify when a marten is nearby.
The female’s territory is slightly smaller. When strange martens meet, their own territory is defended.
A common misconception is that the marten only causes damage and has no benefit. On the contrary, the marten should actually be a welcome animal. This is because they eat insects and other pests. However, in the vicinity of people, they can become dangerous to it and invade the habitat. There you can raid chicken coops or rummage through garbage cans. To avoid greater damage, the marten should be fought at an early stage.
The marten actually looks quite cute as an animal. He is characterized by a gray-brown rough fur. Its body is elongated in shape and its tail is very noticeably bushy. What all stone martens have in common is the bright spot on the larynx. This can extend to the front paws.
The weight of the marten is between 1 and 2.3 kilograms. So the animals are relatively small and not exactly heavy. In Europe, martens can be found pretty much everywhere. In addition, they can also be found in Central Asia.
Compared to the female, the males can grow a bit longer. With a length of 55 centimeters, they are about 10 centimeters longer than the females, which grow to only 45 centimeters.
In terms of weight, the female is also inferior to the male. Thus, the female weighs about 1.5 kilograms, while the male can weigh more than 2 kilograms.
However, all martens have in common that they are very athletic. The animals are not exactly large, but can still overcome heights of 1.8 meters and create distances of 2 meters. This will still be of great importance for the control of the marten.
The marten is nocturnal, which means that it retreats into the burrow during the day. He finds enough space between stone piles or rock crevices and there he feels most comfortable. However, he does not dig his own burrow. So as a shelter he uses crevices or if he finds an abandoned burrow of another animal, then he can take it over.
In the vicinity of man it can happen that the marten nests in the house. In the attic, garage or barn, the marten feels comfortable and can retreat throughout the day. While the marten settles in, he does not go quietly. He pads his lair with all sorts of soft objects. So if you hear unusual noises from the attic, then it may well be that a marten has nested there.
Where do martens come from
The marten is actually not a natural friend of man. It usually stays in crevices that are far away from humans. Over time, however, it has become practical for the marten to stay close to humans. After all, there he finds not only a warm refuge, but also enough to eat.
However, the marten rarely settles in cities. He prefers nevertheless small villages and there single-family houses. However, it must be noted that martens can give birth to about 3 to 4 offspring per year. Thus, the problem of martens can quickly expand from a single house and quickly a complete street is populated by martens.
Now that you know that the marten primarily nests in attics, the barn, or the car, you should watch for signs that indicate a marten infestation.
These clues may be the droppings, urine odor or carrion waste. These signs can be a high impact in themselves, as they are usually impossible to remove with simple cleaning products. The urine quickly penetrates the wood or building materials. Therefore, you should pay attention to the signs of the marten at regular intervals.
The signs include
- Urine and droppings
- A marten tunnel in the wall insulation
- Sealing of the concrete has been pushed up
- Hair may be lost in some places
- What does the animal eat
To better understand the marten and its habits, it is important to explore what the marten actually eats. Because one of the main reasons that the marten is no longer considered a beneficial insect, but rather a pest, is its feeding behavior.
The marten is known to be an omnivore. If the supply is sufficient, martens can feed on fruits and fruits. This also includes berries and nuts. However, this is only true in the summer months. In the remaining months, it is mainly active as a carnivore.
The characteristic as a carnivore is what makes the marten a threatening animal for humans. Although the marten does not grow heavier than a little over 2 kilograms, it does not stop at larger prey. Since the marten is very agile and fast, it is no problem for him to pursue his prey up a tree.
The marten is very ruthless in its pursuit of prey. When he enters a chicken coop, he not only tears a chicken that he later uses as prey, but the panicked animals trigger his killing reflex. This means that the marten tries to kill all the animals. Of course, he will not be able to consume them all, but may only be able to drag one animal into his den.
His favorite food sources include
Where do martens hibernate
Many animals hibernate to escape the harsh winter and save some energy. However, the marten is not one of those animals that hibernates. It is just as active and foraging in the winter. The problem, however, is that the marten can’t find as many berries and fruits in winter.
Since there are hardly any other food sources for him, he looks for animal food more and mostly only chicken coops and other smaller animals remain as a food source for him.
So, the marten is just as active in the winter as it is in the summer. If you thought that you do not need to maintain protection against the marten in winter, unfortunately, this is bad news.
When driving away the marten, there can often be a misconception that martens are not active in the winter. However, the truth is that martens frequently change their hiding places and therefore may not be visible for some time. However, instead of going into hibernation completely, they may have only changed their territory.
Nevertheless, winter has one advantage in the fight against the marten. When it snows, even a nimble marten can’t move without leaving tracks. The tracks are often mistaken for cat tracks. Distinguishing the tracks is not easy, but if you watch closely where the tracks go, then this can be a clue that a marten is on your property.
Where does the marten live
Here it must be distinguished, from which marten species is spoken. The stone marten, also often referred to as the house marten, stays close to people.
As already explained, he prefers to stay in attics or stables. These give him enough space to hide there during the day and become active at night.
However, there is another species of marten that prefers a significantly different habitat.
The pine marten forgoes proximity to humans and tends to stay in forests. There it seeks shelter in trees and caves. The pine marten is also much rarer than the stone marten, as it used to be hunted for its shiny fur.
While the stone marten hunts any small mammals, the pine marten tends to focus on small rodents, as well as plants. Rabbits, however, can also be on the menu.
So when it comes to driving out the marten, not only your own property should be considered, but also an adjacent forest. Although the pine marten avoids human contact, in winter, when the food supply decreases, it is quite possible that it can be found near stables.
Catching the marten
The pine marten takes the path of least resistance when searching for food. Of course, it is easier for him to go in search of food in the vicinity of people and, for example, to rummage through garbage cans. Once nestled in the attic, the habitat of man and the marten often cross.
Therefore, you should be interested in catching the marten early on and releasing it somewhere else before it causes more damage. But what is the best way to proceed?
You should avoid poisoning the marten as far as possible. Animal welfare dictates that you do not poison the marten. Marten hunting is officially permitted during the hunting season from mid-October to the end of February. Nevertheless, hunting should be done only by professional hunters.
It is best to contact a hunter to solve the marten problem. The hunter will usually use a marten trap and then relocate him. Depending on the state, different regulations may apply to setting the traps. Setting the traps is also considered hunting and should not be done by amateurs.
Setting them up without a permit, as well as outside the hunting season, can not only lead to greater suffering of the animal, but is also punishable by law.
Therefore, in any case, you should seek professional help if you want to get rid of the marten.
What else can you do against a marten?
The marten should be fought only with the help of professional hunters. However, this does not mean that you simply have to stand idly by when the marten has taken up residence on your property. With various precautionary measures, you can make the marten look for another territory.
As a first measure, you should make sure that the marten cannot find any food sources in your surroundings. This is because the marten sets up home with you primarily because it can easily find food there.
Lock garbage cans and don’t just leave them standing around open. Martens are also very clever. Simply closing the lid of the garbage can is not enough. The marten could open the lid and get to the food scraps. Therefore, garbage can should be secured with a lock.
Food should, of course, generally not be stored outdoors. This would be an open invitation for any marten.
Accesses to pantries and stables should also be locked in the evening. Since the marten is active only in the evening, you do not need to keep windows closed during the day. At night, however, it is advisable to close windows and keep all entrances closed.
Entrances to stables should always be secured with a deadbolt. In addition, it should be checked whether there are any weak points.
In addition to these precautionary measures, there are also a number of home remedies against the marten or various devices in specialized stores. These are usually based on a very strong smell, which is supposed to drive away the marten, or on ultrasound, for example. Before you call a hunter, you can test such devices. A marten spray can also drive away the marten with its unpleasant smell.
You can also secure your property with an electric fence. You can set this so that the marten receives a short shock, but does not have to risk serious health consequences. The electric shock creates a learning effect and the marten will not enter your property again. You can set up this marten defense yourself.
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
Please if you have any questions leave them on the article and i will get back to you personally.