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American Marten (Martes americana)

American marten


  • Adult martens can reach a weight of 1.5 kilograms (3.5 pounds).
  • Body length ranges from 65 to 75 centimetres (25 to 30 inches).


  • A long, bushy tail and distinctive buff chest patch allow for easy identification.
  • Martens inhabit the forests of the boreal, foothill and the Rocky Mountain natural regions.
Natural History


  • The marten is the most arboreal member of the weasel family, spending much of its time hunting in trees. It may travel for miles without touching the ground.
  • The marten's only natural enemies are the equally agile fisher as well as lynx, great horned owl and wolf.


  • Commonly hunts red squirrels and can match its prey's every move in a high speed tree-top chase.
  • Diet also includes:
    • Other rodents
    • Grouse
    • Insects
    • Eggs
    • Occasionally, nuts or fruits
Reproduction and Growth

Breeding Behaviour

  • Mating occurs in July or August.
  • Litters of three or four young arrive the following March or April.
Conservation and Management


The American marten is classified as Secure in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:

Similar Species
  • Fisher

  • The fisher is twice the size of a marten, and usually lacks the buff chest patch.


Page Information

Updated: May 13, 2010