Have you ever heard of the American marten? Or, as it is also known, the American pine marten?
Martens are quite similar to the mink. They‘re around 20 to 27 inches long and weigh one and a half to three and a half pounds. Martens are long and skinny, with a brown back and a tail that is long and fluffy. Their faces are a lighter, almost pale color, and they have an orange or yellow, blond-like patch on their notably lengthy neck. They used to live in the northern forests of Wisconsin and have recently returned to the state. They are good climbers so they live in hollow trees and are often awake at night.
Martens hunt often. They are omnivores, meaning they eat both animals and plants. Some animals they eat include small rodents like the voles. They also eat rabbits, squirrels, birds, reptiles, and insects. The plants that martens eat include seeds and berries. The scent the animals make marks their territory. Once mating season is done in the summer, the male martens are aggressive towards each other.
These animals have left Wisconsin for 100 years. Some say they left because the pine trees were being destroyed. Since the forests are now flourishing, these mammals have returned to Wisconsin. There are 260 martens living in the Wisconsin forests right now.
Since the martens are back, the forests are healthy, and so are the animals. Martens are also known as an “umbrella species.“ When the environment is good for the martens, then the environment is good for other animals too. An improved environment creates a “protective shield“ in the forest, helping other animals thrive. Because of this, there is a plan to help martens stay in Wisconsin. Researchers are continuously looking for ways to keep the animals safe and healthy.
Part of this plan may be to keep Wisconsin pine trees safe. Be on the lookout.
[Source: The Encyclopedia of North American Animals]