[NAFEX] Squirrels in Europe, Marten

Hans Brinkmann hans-brinkmann at t-online.de
Thu Feb 15 16:02:54 EST 2007

Hallo Doug;
Martes martes = Pine marten is one important predator of "our German 
Squirrel" . All your different squirrels we do not have.

I found a pdf about: Grey squirrel management at GB as an unwanted invader:

And information about Marten Martes americana

In general predators of squirrels are:
Lynx, Martens crows, raven (nest), Coyotes, Bobcats, Foxes, Weasels,// 
Minks, Wolf, Raccoons, Northern Goshawks,
Red-tailed Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks and occasionally Broad-winged Hawks, 
Great Horned Owls, Barred Owls...

The *marten* (/Martes americana/) is a carnivorous, furbearing relative 
of the mink
*Food habits:* Marten depend heavily on meadow voles and red-backed 
voles or mice, which are their primary food source over much of Alaska. 
Fluctuations in food availability often create corresponding variations 
in marten populations. This condition is more pronounced in the less 
optimum habitat of the marten. Probably the second most critical food 
source is berries, especially blueberries, followed by small birds, 
eggs, and vegetation. The marten is a voracious and opportunistic 
feeder. Carrion such as the remains of wolf kills or salmon carcasses 
are eaten in many areas. Wild marten are fond of sweets such as jam. 
They will sometimes take treats from humans. *It has been reported that 
red squirrels are a major food source for marten. This does not seem to 
be the case in Alaska.* In fact, the two seem to get along quite well. 
Marten commonly use red squirrel middens as resting places. Although 
marten are suited for nocturnal foraging, they are occasionally seen 
during the day just before stormy weather or immediately following a 
fresh snowfall.

In Germany our Pine marten likes our squirrels, but this may even differ 
very much within Germany. Usually these predators are able to change 
their food easily.
Your idea about their "fear about human population" is right, but since 
many years in "overcrowded Germany" Pine martens are also more and more 
close by with human settlements. Like e.g. also shy Foxes, Wild bores 
occur in German cities... Usually in the past, they did not like to be 
too close...

In any case The English Pine marten Martes martes is the one who hunts 
squirrels in Germany.
But we have also a second smaller marten in Germany which is usually not 
hunting our squirrels, but living usually only inside towns and villages 
in Germany.
Farmers usually are loving this one, because it is killing mice and rats 
much better than cats. *But also it likes farmer's chickens and ducks. 
Anyhow farmers found simple methodes to close the chicken houses only at 
night marten-proof. In any case Chicken-houses have to be always 
fox-proof - all over the world! At daytime no risk. *
This marten has a very, very high tolerance to humans.
But the Pine marten is also becoming more tolerant to human settlements. 
But slowly.

In general this is a very interesting subject, but also very complicated 
because of the complex ecology.
Like e.g. in Australia almost all mistakes are made , which have been 
possible to make...

Probably squirrel problems are solved with a combination of ecological 
aspects and hunting and other methods.
I think only in small scale technical solutions will work well.


Grey squirrel management at GB as an unwanted invader:

information about Marten Martes americana

information about Marten Martes martes = Pine marten

dwoodard at becon.org schrieb:
> Hans Brinkmann, a while back you mentioned "marten" as a predator on 
> squirrels in Germany. Can you tell us something of their habitat and what 
> are the limits of human population density they will tolerate?
> In North America we have a "pine marten" which is a tree-hunting squirrel 
> predator related to the weasel but bigger. From what I have read it 
> prefers areas with a lot of pine trees, needs a big range (has a low 
> population density itself), and does not tolerate many people in its 
> range - although I have encountered one or two suggestions 
> that its tolerance for people may be increasing.
> I wonder (cautiously) whether a people-tolerant marten could be useful
> in dealing with the near-plague of squirrels we have locally.
> Doug Woodard
> St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
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