Marten Tracks In The Snow: How To Recognize Martens

Animal tracks are particularly easy to recognize in the snow. Marten tracks have characteristic features and are therefore easy to distinguish from cats and co. We tell you what you need to look out for when identifying them.

To the point

  • about five centimeters long and four centimeters wide
  • sickle-shaped pads
  • five toe prints with claw marks in front of each toe
  • offset and clearly visible when walking slowly
  • side by side and blurred during jumping locomotion

Different tracks


Depending on how fast or slow a stone marten moves, its prints in the white snow look very different. If the animals want to be fast, they jump – comparable to field hares – and both paws come up next to each other. In addition, the hind paws then usually fall into the tracks of the previously emerged front paws, so that no clear imprint is recognizable – the marten track appears blurred. Only when moving slowly, the paw prints can be seen clearly and offset to each other.

Note: The type of snow also affects how clearly animal tracks can be seen. Deep, solid snow is best suited for tracking. If, on the other hand, the snow is damp or powdery, the tracks will remain indistinct.

Marderspuren im Schnee

Recognize marten tracks
Unlike many other species of wild and domestic animals that walk through the garden, the tracks of the marten have these distinguishing characteristics:

  • five toe prints
  • distinct claw marks on each toe
  • pads look like crescent-shaped sickle
  • about 3.5 to 5 centimeters long
  • 3 to 4 centimeters wide

Frequently asked questions


How can you tell marten tracks from cat tracks?


Cat or even dog tracks are easy to distinguish from marten tracks. The most important distinguishing feature is the number of toe prints: The stone marten has five toes, but cats or dogs have only four. In addition, clear claw marks are visible in the marten, but not in our pets.

Which animal tracks are similar to those of the marten?


The stone marten quite similar tracks in the winter white splendor also leave related species such as badger or polecat. However, the paw prints of a badger are much larger than marten tracks – up to seven centimeters long and also wider – and those of the polecat much smaller. Tanuki also leave similar prints, but they are only fourteen inches long – as does the fox, by the way. Raccoon tracks, on the other hand, look like small handprints.

Do martens hibernate?


Neither the pine marten nor the more common stone marten hibernate – quite the opposite. Instead, the animals become even more of a nuisance during the cold season because they seek warm retreats and therefore like to make themselves at home in attics (especially those with thick insulation), in partitions, in the protected garden shed or even under the hood of the car.

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