Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Mammals

Stone marten (Martes foina)

Description

The Stone Marten is a small mammal of about 50 cm long which has coarse, dark grey fur with a divided white undercoat. It is often confused with the Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis) due to the similarities in features and color. The average life expectancy in its natural habitat is 3 years with a maximum of 10 years. The total pregnancy takes about 230 to 275 days and results in an average of about 3 pups. The pups are born naked with closed eyes and ears, they will learn to hunt from their mother about 2 months after being born and will reach independence at the end of the summer period. These martens are mostly solitary animals, with the exception of mating interactions and family groups that usually consist of mothers and their young. They communicate primarily by using olfactory cues which basically means they communicate through scents and smells.

Habitat

The Stone marten can be found in open deciduous forests and on rocky outcrops in mountainous habitats, open landscapes and urban areas. They may den in buildings if close to an urban area and left with a lack of natural locations. Natural den sites usually include abandoned burrows of other animals, hollow trees, and rocky crevices.

Diet

The mammal is mostly carnivorous commonly eating smaller mammals, frogs and bird eggs but is known to occasionally eat rabbits, birds, berries and other fruits as well.

Protection status

The Stone marten is currently listed as "least concern" on the IUCN Red List and as "Appendix III'' at both the Bern convention as well as CITES. No special conservation needs at this moment.

Interesting facts

The Stone marten is immune to bee and wasp stings, this defense allows the animal to get honey from hives without taking the risk of getting injured.

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