STONE MARTEN/Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus

STONE MARTEN

STONE MARTEN


DESCRIPTION: Only slightly bigger than a giant squirrel, the Beech or Stone Marten is a long weasel-shaped marten, lighter in colour than the other Indian martens, varying from liver–brown (Western Himalayas), to chocolate, to drab tawny brown (Sikkim and eastern distribution). There is not much distinction between the dorsal and ventral parts although the legs and tail are darker than the body. The tail is only half the size of the head and body and thus smaller than the Yellow-throated Marten’s. The neck is white or pale yellow, split into two or patterned by the colour of the body extending into the white. The upper lip is characteristically split. Males are larger in size. Females have two pairs of mammae. M. intermedia is a small subspecies with light fur, a dark brown tail and variable throat patch, which in some cases is absent. The guard hairs are darker and the underfur is pale and almost white. The feet are not densely furred and the tracks are clear even in the snow.

BEHAVIOUR: Less arboreal than other martens, it creeps like a cat due to its short legs and often raids hen coops.

DISTRIBUTION: Western and Central Himalayas: Jammu & Kashmir to Sikkim.

HABITAT: Temperate and alpine forests, open stony ground above the treeline and near habitation.

 Size: 40–54 cm

IUCN  Status: Vulnerable

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