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Name: Beech marten
Scientific Name: Martes foina
Global Conservation Status: common (LC)
In Israel: common (LC)
At the Zoo: A breeding pair can be observed at the Beech Marten exhibit- “Remi” and “Avivit”.
In the Bible: -
Habitat and Distribution: Rocky areas and thickets in Europe and Asia. In Israel, the marten lives in mountainous areas such as the Golan Heights, the Galilee region, Samaria and the Judean Mountains.
Body Structure: The marten is 65-70 cm long, including its tail. Its body is cylindrical and elongated, its color is brown, and its chest bares a white blotch. It weighs 700-1200 gr, and the male is significantly larger than the female.
Diet: Carnivorous. Feeds mainly on rodents, birds and eggs, small reptiles and amphibians. It often feeds on vegetarian food as well.
Social Structure: Solitary
Activity cycle: Nocturnal in Israel, often also during the day in Europe.
Threats in the wild: Hunting
photo: Tamar Raviv
The Marten is a skilled predator, which chases its prey on the ground and on the top of trees.
The Martens are one of the animal species that managed to thrive alongside humans, who provide them with food and shelter. Both specimens in the zoo, were brought in by families who found the cubs in their attic. It is not clear if they were deserted by their mothers, but they undoubtedly that went to a humans’ house in order to find food. Recently, Breech Martens have been observed more frequently than ever amongst human settlements.
The Martens in this exhibit have been hand-fed their entire lives, and therefore cannot be reintroduced to nature. For their convenience, we have built for them an exhibit that is designed as a house with an attic, much like the place where they were initially found. We hope they reproduce here.
Watch this edition of the zoo's video journal to see a story on the Beech marten exhibit.