The body of a marten, as well as sable extended, flexible and harmonous, is covered with fluffy, quite long fur. The head with extended, but not so sharp muzzle. Ears are quite large, standing, rounded off above. Paws are strong, with five fingers and strong claws. Hair on stupnyakh less rigid, than at a sable, and do not close claws in the winter. The tail is very fluffy, it is equal or exceeds a half of length of a body and is much longer than the extended hind legs, than the marten clearly differs from a sable. Length of a body fluctuates from 42 to 56 cm.
On a throat the light yellowish or ocherous spot which is not passing to forepaws is always allocated. Magnificent and soft, but nevertheless much more rough, than at a sable, the winter fur changes on coloring from light brownish-yellowish to chestnut-brown and dark brown tones. The fur on sides is lighter than a back and a belly. The underfur is light, whitish-gray, with a brownish and yellowish shade, strongly appears through on a body through rather rare awn why the general tone of fur of a marten seems to lighter. The tail is brownish-brown, is more dark, than a back. Legs are covered with the short brown fur darkening on tips of paws. The summer fur consisting of a short hair and a rare underfur, dim, more monophonic and dark. Males on coloring are indistinguishable from females.
The molt of a marten begins in the early spring. At first the underfur and an awn on the head and forward part of a body, and then — on sides and on a belly drop out. At the end of August the winter fur which to the middle or by the end of October reaches the full splendor starts over again developing.
The trace of a hinder leg of a marten has some similarity to a trace of a hare, but is slightly shorter, okrugly ahead more widely. Callosities of the trimmed foot do not imprint even on dense snow. The marten jumps runs, leaving pair prints of paws at distance of 50 — 100 cm a trace from a trace or doing prints of all four paws located as at a hare: ahead two prints of hinder legs and behind — two lobbies. Some hunters claim that the male of a forest marten always goes pair jumps, and the female often walks, leaving a twisting chain of the traces alternating one after another, or "troit" on - hare.
The forest marten is widespread on all forest area of the European part of the CIS and gets into northwest Siberia, and also into the woods of the Caucasus. Northern border of an area, more or less coinciding with border of the long-boled woods, passes through the central parts of the Kola peninsula, of. Stakes to Tersky coast. Further it lasts on the coast of the White Sea to Mezen, through Ust-Tsilma and Ust-Usu, crossing Northern Urals under 67 °C. highway. In Western Siberia the marten passed the average Ob and Irtysh Current and was settled on the East approximately to 75 ° by EL. The southern border borders a forest-steppe zone, passing on a middle part of Moldova, at Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Voronezh, Saratov, Buzuluk to the southernmost tip of Ural Ridge. Besides, the forest marten lives in the woods of the North Caucasus, Greater Caucasus Range, in Dagestan, on the Black Sea coast, in Abkhazia and Georgia, to Suramsky of ridge on the East. Here it rises from sea level up to border of the wood and comes into a zone of the Alpine meadows up to the height of two with superfluous thousands of meters.
Outside the CIS the forest marten is found in the woods of Western Europe. In North America, from Alaska to northern California and New Mexico in the south, there live interconnected forms of martens.
In the territory of the CIS the forest marten forms three subspecies.
Typical forest marten — the large sizes. A back of dense brownish color with the blackish ends of hair of an awn. The underfur is light gray, with the brownish ends of hair. Tail of dark-brown color. Paws are black. The throat spot is changeable, but, as a rule, quite pale. Inhabits Western Europe and northern parts of the CIS.
The Central Russian forest marten differs in rather small sizes. Coloring of winter fur usually lighter, dim, brownish-yellowish, with pale pale-yellow-grayish or sometimes a whitish underfur. The throat spot changes from whitish to bright yellow tone. More rough summer fur to Bureya more darkly than winter; the throat spot is brighter. Inhabits the central regions of the European part of the CIS.
The Caucasian forest marten of very large sizes, with rather pale, reddish and gray and brownish, magnificent, but rough fur in the winter and in the dark brown summer. Lives in the Caucasus. From all martens northern (Murmansk) is the most valuable.
In the north the forest marten adheres to the dense and old fir and fir forests where there are a lot of perestoyny and hollow trees. In the black earth belt keeps in old forest plantings and especially prefers the hollow oak woods. In the Caucasus lives everywhere where there are long-boled woods.
Unlike a sable the forest marten has no constant habitats and wanders on forests depending on existence of a forage and convenient places for day rest. She spends rather seldom day in the same hollow or a squirrel nest, and has a rest in the next suitable place where it was found by dawn after long night hunting wanderings. Only for the period of a conclusion of young people the female remains on one place, but in case of alarm moves a brood in other hollow. The nest arranges in hollows of old trees and throws cubs usually directly on dry dust of the decayed wood, having brought only a little moss or a lichen from the next branches. The nest often settles down at big height from the earth. Quite often the marten uses a squirrel gayn, a hollow of the fallen trunks or emptiness among stones.
Techka at a marten the same as at a sable, happens in June and July. Development of an oosperm is late prior to the beginning of spring — February and March when the phenomena of false rutting during which at small animals sexual excitement is noticeable are observed, males fight and "look after" females, but pairing does not happen. At the beginning or the middle of April the female brings 2 — 3 — 5 blind cubs are more often. In 4 — 5 weeks they open eyes, and at the end of September the youth begins independent life.
The food of a marten is quite various and the same as at a sable, consists of animal and vegetable forages, and changes years depending on their existence and abundance from time to time. So, the marten catches and eats various forest small animals: voles, mice, shrews. In the northern woods in its diet the squirrel whom the marten strenuously pursues is of great importance and usually catches at night sleeping in a nest. Having caught a squirrel in the gayena or nearby, the marten gets into the devastated nest and there eats day for two victim, without coming to light. In days of abundance of a squirrel the marten follows it at her movements. The squirrel in food of a marten in the Caucasus substantially is replaced by sleepyheads-polchki. Sometimes martens catch hares, quite often get hazel grouses, black grouses, wood-grouses, partridges and the small birds who are especially living in hollows and also their egg and baby birds. Besides, the marten often eats insects, their larvae, and especially willingly bees and honey. In the Caucasus the best bait (on an equal basis with fish and meat) for catching of a marten dies comb honey is considered. The marten also of frogs, ears and the fallen asleep fish who is thrown out on coast of forest streams and the rivers eats. Eats in the summer a set of berries and wild fruits which quite often make up to 90% of its summer food: bilberry, raspberry, pears, apples, mountain ash, cornel, cherries, sweet cherries, dogrose. Dogrose berries often remain on bushes almost all winter, and the marten does big calling of the wood on pure glades to dogrose bushes.
The marten in much bigger measure, than a sable, is a night predator. In the afternoon she sleeps, having hidden somewhere in a hollow, and it is possible to see her rather seldom. But at night it is very active and quick.
The forest marten easily and quickly runs up on absolutely steep and smooth trunks of trees and remarkably dexterously moves on branches, jumping from a tree on a tree on long distance, than differs from a sable who cannot climb steep and smooth trunks. The marten moves also on tops of trees, leaving on many kilometers and leaving for itself on the earth only slightly a noticeable trace from the fallen-down needles yes of flakes of the brought-down snow. The good dog on firm snow hardly manages to run behind her low. Pursuing a squirrel, the marten usually jumps after it on the earth or from a tree on a tree, using the fluffy tail as a parachute.
The marten goes to water reluctantly, and through small rivers and streams is transported on the trees which fell across, than hunters usually use, having dumped trees across streams and putting on them traps.
External feelings — sight, hearing and sense of smell — at a marten are developed well. From all marten the forest marten is better than others (apart from a harza) is adapted for dwelling on trees where carries out the most part of the life. Only in strongly rarefied North woods she is forced to lead exclusively land existence.
The fur of a marten of fine quality and on value approaches cheaper grades of a sable. In the last decades the marten is traded according to special licenses.
Get martens the gun, by means of a laika. The dog for this hunting has to possess the top intuition, thinner, than at an ordinary squirrel laika. The dogs going on old, two - or to a three-day trace are especially appreciated. Hunting begins at the end of fall, it is still possible to go without skis. Besides, when catching martens use also a network-obmetom.
At the beginning of winter the marten hides in hollows and squirrel nests, in the second half of winter in the afternoon — in a windbreak and under packs. Having found a marten here, surround the place of her shelter pressed down the same as at similar trade of a sable. If the marten was slaughtered into a hollow, then in an opening its, previously expanded with the axe, lower a hand in a leather mitten or a special fork by means of which pull out production outside. If the hollow is located highly, the tree, at an opportunity, is cut down. When the marten jumps out, her shoot from guns or catch dogs.
In some areas hunt without dogs, finding martens on a trace and vypugivy their knock of the axe. This hunting begins as soon as snow drops out. The more often it is snowing, the more good snow slightly, the hunting is more successful.
There is also a way of getting of martens of a samolovama who are very widespread in the North Caucasus. Special type of sack-ki are made of a fir zherdnyak here and are placed in a large number on forest slopes of mountains. As a bait serves meat of animals, birds, etc. The thicket should examine these traps, otherwise the fur of the got marten can will prop up.
Also iron traps, especially in the mountain Areas of Caucasus where martens are got among stone scatterings are applied to catching of martens. In certain cases on the thick log lying across the small river, and which sometimes is specially tumbled down for this purpose the platform on which the alerted iron trap attached to a chain of half-meter length is put is cut down. Calculation is made so that the marten who got to a trap broke together with it from a log and hung over water. Thus, neither a lynx from a log, nor an otter will not be able to get it from water.
On appearance the stone marten, or a belodushka, is very similar on forest, but differs in the following signs. The throat spot, as a rule, white, in the lower part forks and two ledges mi pass to the top parts of forepaws. Less often the throat spot has a subtle yellowish shade. Underfur almost white or pale-gray. The general tone of fur changes from pale pale-yellow grayish-brown to dark brown. The ear is less and krugly, than at a forest marten. Soles of paws are much more weakly trimmed why on thawed snow small pillows are well visible. Besides, trace of a stone marten a little krugly well. Belodushka body length about 45 cm, a tail — 26 cm.
Belodushka lives partly in a midland, and mainly in the south of the European part of the CIS, in mountain part of the Crimea, in the Caucasus, and also in mountains of Central Asia and in Altai. Outside the CIS meets in Western Europe, Asia Minor, in Iran, Afghanistan, Kashmir, China (Xinjiang, Tibet) and in the Mongolian National Republic.
The belodushka is widespread in the European part of the former USSR incidentally and everywhere is very rare. It is found in certain places of Smolensk, Moscow, Ivanovo, Kursk, Voronezh, Samara and Saratov regions, on the East — to Volga. To Povidimy, the northern border of a belodushka passes from Estonia to upper courses of Volga and further across its right coast to Samara Luka. From here she goes straight almost on the southwest to Dnipropetrovsk and then down the right coast of Dnieper, to its mouth. Dwelling of a belodushka in the Caucasus as well as in the mountain Crimea, is torn off from its northern distribution. It is not rare across all Caucasus and Transcaucasia. Within Central Asia there lives in the mountains of Turkmenistan, on Kopet-Dag also Bolshikh Balkhanakh, in the mountains of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and southeast part of Kazakhstan. Within Siberia meets only in Altai.
For a belodushka the following is described under. types. The European belodushka is widespread in Western Europe, to it, povidimy, the form inhabiting average areas of the European part of the CIS is close.
The Crimean belodushka differs in a small skull and a structure of teeth. The general coloring of fur in the winter smoky and brownish, with impurity of gray color; underfur pale-grayish or whitish. Paws and a tail are much more dark than a back. Throat spot snow-white. Lives in the Crimea.
The Caucasian belodushka larger, length of a body is about 54 cm. Winter fur brilliant dark-brownish, with a pale-yellow shade; podpush pale-yellow grayish and whitish. Tail and paws brilliant, black-brown tone. Inhabits the Caucasus and Transcaucasia.
The Central Asian belodushka large subspecies with a poor development of a throat spot. Winter fur very magnificent, brownish tone, from a pale-whitish podpushyyu. Lives in mountains of Central Asia and in Altai.
Distribution of a stone marten in the considerable territory coincides with distribution forest, and both small animals live often in the same woods, for example in the Caucasus. However the belodushka, contrary to a forest marten, keeps mainly on the earth, under roots of trees, among a windbreak, and in mountains — among stony taluses. It is not so connected with forest spaces and quite often meets in treeless mountains and settlements.
Lodges not only in hollows of old trees, but it is very frequent among rocks where arranges a nest for a conclusion of young people. Gets food and hunts on the earth and mainly on the ground escapes from prosecution of dogs. For the rest on a way of life it is very similar to a forest marten.
Economic value and getting. The stone marten eats mainly harmful rodents, sometimes attacks a game or poultry, and gets even into hen houses. The fur on quality concedes it to fur of a forest marten a little. It is got by the most part traps, and in the Caucasus — the same ways, as a forest marten.