American marten

(Martes americana)

Conservation Status
American marten
Photo by Laurie Wachholz
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern


N5 - Secure

S4S5 - Apparently Secure to Secure


not listed


The fur (pelage) is long, thick, and yellowish-brown on the body, shading into dark brown to blackish on the legs and tail. The belly is paler. There is a buff to orangish-yellow patch on the throat and breast. The head is usually lighter in color.

Females are smaller than males.




Total length: 14 to 17

Tail: 7 to 9






Similar Species


Both young and old deciduous and coniferous forests








Up to 17 years in captivity, less in the wild


Life Cycle








Distribution Map



15, 24, 29, 30, 76.

There is a single confirmed sighting (iNaturalist) of an American marten in Minneapolis in September 2017, though that is well outside of its previously known range.




Increasingly common in northern Minnesota

  Class Mammalia (mammals)  
  Subclass Theria  
  Infraclass Eutheria (placentals)  
  Magnorder Boreoeutheria  
  Superorder Laurasiatheria  
  Order Carnivora (carnivores)  
  Suborder Caniformia (dog-like carnivores)  


Mustelidae (weasel, mink, badger, martens and others)  


Guloninae (wolverines, martens, and tayras)  


Martes (martens)  

Recent DNA studies have suggested that the traditional arrangement of family Mustelidae into two subfamilies based on morphological differences is invalid. Under this arrangement, the subfamily Mustelinae is polyphyletic (derived from more than one evolutionary ancestor.) Two molecular phylogenetic analyses in Sato et al (2004) and Koepfli et al (2008) suggest separating the family into eight subfamilies. Under this scheme, martens are placed in the subfamily Martinae. This suggestion has not been widely adopted.


Subordinate Taxa


Alaska marten (Martes americana actuosa)

American marten (Martes americana vulpina)

British Columbia marten (Martes americana abietinoides)

Eastern American pine marten (Martes americana americana)

farthest north marten (Martes americana boria)

Hudson Bay marten (Martes americana abieticola)

Humboldt marten (Martes americana humboldtensis)

Kenai Peninsula marten (Martes americana kenaiensis)

Newfoundland pine marten (Martes americana atrata)

North Labrador marten (Martes americana brumalis)

Pacific marten (Martes americana caurina)

Queen Charlotte marten (Martes americana nesophila)

Rocky Mountain marten (Martes americana origensis)

Vancouver Island marten (Martes americana vancouverensis)

Western marten (Martes americana sierrae)




Mustela americanus


Common Names


American marten

pine marten











The coat of a mammal, consisting of fur, wool, or hair, and including a soft undercoat and stiff guard hairs.


Visitor Photos

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Laurie Wachholz
  American marten    Photos



  Pine Marten 2
Chas Moonie
  Pine Marten 2  
  Pine Marten Family
David Geddes
  Pine Marten Family  

These images represent two short and steep learning curves.

The first was realising and understanding a little of the Pine Marten family that frequent our garden almost entirely at night.

The second is the adaptation and continual review of camera settings, night time lighting, and the habitat scenario.

Eventually the Martens were being photographed in some intimacy from 1.5 metres distance from inside our kitchen or sunroom.

This is a fascinating work in progress.




Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  The Pine Marten is Nature's Most Adorable Assassin!
Brave Wilderness

Published on Dec 23, 2014


Coyote Peterson claims the ability to climb trees like a cat, but is he nimble enough to follow a lightning quick Pine Marten all the way to the top? Without a doubt it’s going to be a tricky climb up but really it’s the getting down that’s going to be the challenge! Check out this episode and see one of nature’s most adorable assassin’s in it’s natural environment - the Pine Marten in the high canopy’s of Montana!

Breaking Trail leaves the map behind and follows adventurer and animal enthusiast Coyote Peterson and his crew as they explore a variety of wildlife in the most amazing environments throughout North America!

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  American marten (Martes americana)
The Nature Box

Published on Dec 8, 2013

An American marten (Martes americana) is looking at a dog from a tree, next to a hiking trail in New Hampshire.

Author: Melikamp
License: Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)


Details of the licenses can be found on this channel's "About" page.

In this video, no changes or modifications have been made to the original material.

  Animal Spotlight: American Marten

Published on Jan 28, 2015

For more information visit:

  American Pine Marten raids bird feeder in Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Published on Feb 23, 2017

A bandit so cute you can forgive him/her for stealing from the local mountain chickadee and pine grosbeak population. While cuddling the American Pine Marten, always mind the large canine teeth and razor sharp claws.




Visitor Sightings

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Nancy Fulliam

Location: St. Paul

I sure ive been a seeing a marten in st paul east side johnson pkwy and 3rd st towards mounds park im sure of it






Created: 2/18/2018

Last Updated:

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