pine marten, martes americana (2)

photo: SolidElectronics, via Flickr

pine marten, martes americana

photo: travelling.steve, via Flickr

pine marten, martes americana (3)

photo: travelling.steve, via Flickr

pine marten, martes americana (5)

photo: Steve Slocomb

Habitat: northern North America
Status: Least Concern

So here’s some good news… if you’ve ever been called a weasel… cheer up! It was actually a complement becauseĀ damn these guys are cute! You were compared to a fluffy little creature with badass hunting skills. I could really think of worse things to be compared to… you know, like a bird-poop frog. Now that would be really crappy… hah šŸ˜‰

Technically this isn’t a weasel though, it’s a Pine Marten (Martes americana), a tree-climbing mammal in the weasel family. Eh, close enough. There are 8 species of Pine Martens found throughout the world – this one in particular being found over North America. Most of the marten is comprised of a big bushy tail; around a third of its overall length (anywhere between 30 to 34 inches). Their silky coats vary in shade from light brown to almost black with a throat bib that also ranges from pale yellow to bright orange.

The real appeal of the Pine Marten is how darn adorable their young are. After nine months, a momma Pine Marten gives birth to a litter of 2-4 babies, known as kits, in a hollow log or under a bush. The babies are born blind and only open their eyes after 6 weeks of TLC. When they do, they wreak absolute havoc with their cuteness. I mean, would you just look at that face?!

pine marten, martes americana

photo: Jean Cloudy

And here’s some footage of a close relative, the European Pine Marten. The only differences? It’s more sophisticated and likes tea. Obviously.