It climbs very skillfully and hunts almost mercilessly: it is there beech marten, hence the way of saying “you are a weasel” certainly not to define meek, generous and peaceful subjects. This animal falls into the category of medium-sized mustelids and has decidedly nocturnal habits, as we will soon describe. Its scientific name would derive from the Latin Martius, which means warlike, is in fact a very active carnivore: being also an excellent climber, it turns out to be one of the most adaptable and eclectic species around.
Beech Marten: dimensions
We begin to imagine this animal by revealing its dimensions. It will certainly be very warlike but it is not a huge beast, it can be long from 40 to 60 centimeters, of which 20 are those of the thing, soft but very compact. If desired, a stone marten can also be safely picked up by a child, since it weighs a maximum of a couple of kilos.
Beech Marten: characteristics
The body is rather slender and covered with a glossy hazelnut brown coat, not uniform. In fact, there are some darker parts, such as the legs, and more choare parts such as those at the height of the muzzle and forehead. There are those who, jokingly, claim that these animals wear socks to hunt at night without being heard. Also on the throat and on the neck the hair changes color, turning towards whitish shades that continue up to the belly. From the snout, slightly flattened and with very long tactile whiskers, sprout ears with a rounded shape and a curious white rim.
Beech Marten: what it eats
Like many carnivores, this animal also has one substantially omnivorous diet and based on the consumption of berries, fruit, eggs and honey, even if it does not disdain small animals, such as rats, chickens, birds. In order not to have chewing problems, it is equipped with very strong teeth, moreover its jaw and its mandible can be opened at right angles, this is important because it allows it to bite even very large prey.
Rumor has it that the beech marten you suck the blood of your prey, to date it appears to be an unverified hypothesis while it is true that it has a tuberculous molar per jaw with which it attacks prey in the neck because it is the easiest part to hit.
Beech Marten: reproduction
During the mating period, which usually falls in summer, these animals form small family groups and the male mates with all the females present on the territory. Only the winning male can do it, of course, after fierce fights with his contenders. Cubs are born in spring, because embryo development is delayed in February, and usually about 3 or 5 can be born at a time. There mother wean them for about a year, then they begin to live independently and usually live up to 11 or 12 years of life on average.
Among the skills of the martens, among those that make it an effective and resistant animal, there is that of climbing very easily and, just as easily, passing through tiny openings, like a true contortionist. This allows it to reach prey that other animals dream of catching. It seems that, as a habit, it kills many more than it would need to feed itself. Badness? How to say it. It would be his own defined animal instinct "Surplus killing".
Faina: where she lives
An animal of the genus, moreover active above all at night, prefers open and mainly rocky spaces while it does not like wide open spaces. We can find it often and willingly in places such as barns, uninhabited houses and attics but do not be surprised to find it at night on the roadsides and on the edge of the woods where it hides in tunnels and in the tree cavities.
Faina in Italy
The stone marten cannot be hunted in Italy and is included among the species protected by the Berne Convention, but there is and there is.
There are many varieties of subspecies (Martes foina bosniaca, "Martes foina saverica", Martes foina bunites, Martes foina foina, Martes foina kozlovi, Martes foina intermedia, Martes foina Mediterranea, Martes foina milleri, Martes foina nehringi, Martes foina rosanowi, Martes foina syriaca, Martes foina toufoeus) but the most widespread is mainly located in Italy and it's called Faina Gugliottica.
The territory most inhabited by this animal is the Southern Sicily, in the Marina di Modica area, but the nominal subspecies is present throughout the peninsular area. We can find very different environments from each other, in the plains but also at altitudes over 2000 meters high. As we have already mentioned, in general it goes in search of forest or wooded areas but lately it is also able to settle in areas inhabited by man, the peripheral and rural ones.
In addition to Italy, the stone marten also lives in the rest of Europe, including in Crete and in the numerous islands of the Ionian and Aegean. Only Scandinavia, Ireland, Great Britain and the Balearic Islands are exceptions.
When hunting at night, the stone marten seems tireless, it seems that in chasing its prey it manages to more than 10 km away from its lair. It is undoubtedly a tenacious predator.
If you liked this article keep following me also on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram