We ran across this marten...

We ran across this marten (??) while on the way up Fremont. If anyone can make a positive ID from this (or other pictures I could send you) I'd appreciate it.


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JonBradford - Oct 29, 2005 2:11 pm - Voted 10/10

pine martin maybe...

definately a member of the weasel family.



kyledod - Oct 29, 2005 2:32 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: pine martin maybe...

Yes, that is what I thought too, based on the dark feet and tip of the tail, length of the legs and "non-weasel-like" neck. It also had the characteristic orange throat patch and a rather bushy tail (not evident in this picture). However, this guy was above tree line, and all the information I have seen on martens emphasizes that they are residents of mature forests??


csmcgranahan - Nov 5, 2005 10:46 am - Voted 10/10

Re: pine martin maybe...

Based on the photo and your description I would say that it is definitely an American Marten also known as the Pine Marten or the American Sable.

I base this on ruling out all other members of the Weasel family. It is definitely not a short-tailed, long-tailed or least weasel - it's too bulky. It's also obviously not a black-footed ferret, mink, skunk, badger or wolverine. This leaves only two options: a marten or a fisher. Your picture and description would indicate that it is the smaller, less-bulky of the two which is the marten. Martens are also much more common in the Rockies.

You may want to contact the local Ranger District in Pinedale, Wyoming and let them know of your high-altitude sighting. They may be intersested.


b. - Dec 7, 2005 10:29 am - Hasn't voted

Re: pine martin maybe...

I thought the martens maintained the brown color through winter and the ermine changed to white. That is another option, though it looks a bit big for an ermine. One more vote for a marten.


kyledod - Dec 7, 2005 10:36 am - Hasn't voted

Re: pine martin maybe...

Yes, nothing I have seen has mentioned that martens (Martes americana) change color to white in the winter, while weasels (such as the long-tailed weasel) do (weasels are also common above tree line). The black lines on the inside of the eyes seem to be indicative of a marten in this case, however. Martens seem to be condsidered dependent on dense "old growth" forest, which is why this struck me as unusual, as this was clearly above tree-line.

Arthur Digbee

Arthur Digbee - Jul 18, 2008 12:32 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: pine martin maybe...

I definitely agree with the pine marten ID, based on its head shape and other features. Yes, it's out of its typical habitat but animals cross unsuitable habitat all the time for various reasons. This one looks a bit young, perhaps it's dispersing to a new range.

dnewt - Sep 5, 2011 3:51 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: pine martin maybe...

Yep definitely a marten. They actually are frequent visitors (certain individuals) to higher areas and like to feed on pikas. I've know quite a few people that have seen them above tree line. Cool sighting!

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