Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A Pine Marten Enjoys his Biscuits

This pine marten was caught on camera a couple of days ago, enticed into just the right place for his portrait by an offering of biscuits.  The enticement is complex: he'll only come in if it's Abernethy biscuits, and he likes to enjoy his meal while listening to the BBC World Service.  Others have preferences such as mince pies, peanut butter sandwiches, and raspberry jam.

The trail camera was set by Martin Summers, a ranger with Forest Holidays in England's West Country.  Martin is a regular visitor to West Ardnamurchan.

Pine martens are a protected species - see SNH site here - but they're recovering from long years of persecution. A recent survey by Scottish Natural Heritage and the Vincent Wildlife Trust described them as "'established' in Caithness, Moray, Perth and Kinross, Aberdeenshire, Angus and Fife", and as, "now being spotted in southern Argyll and Stirlingshire" - see BBC report here.  The survey obviously forgot to look at West Ardnamurchan - there is no shortage of them here.

They're not always the most popular of animals as they're famous for being able to squeeze through the smallest gap into the very places householders don't want them.  This one is okay - he's welcomed where these pictures were taken.

Many thanks to Martin Summers for the pictures.


  1. we come up every year for 2 weeks and we have, for the past 6 yrs been visited by pine martins. we have hours of video, hundreds of photos the and they never get boring and they aren't scared cause our Staffie wanders around the caravan with the doors open while it eats peanuts. sometimes he stays for 30 mins at a time, 8ft away. We are back on 22 June and it can't come quick enough :)

  2. I second that comment. I remember once having a very cheeky pine marten standing its ground, looking round me at the packet of custard creams lying on the windowsill behind me. It knew very well they were for him. Then it went for a stroll along the outside of the window and fell off the sill as it tried to negotiate an open pane. They are one of the countless delights of Ardnamurchan.