Meet one of the rarest species in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
American pine martens are a slender, cat-size member of the weasel family. Although Greater Yellowstone has a healthy population of pine martens, anyone who comes across one of these cute little creatures ought to feel very fortunate, as it is a rare event.
Pine martens have dark, chestnut-brown fur and a bushy tail with a distinctive creamy-yellow throat. The tail is long and fluffy and is about half the length of its body. Their head is usually lighter in color than the rest of their body and has large, rounded ears, a roughly triangular shape, and a sharp nose.
Pine martens do most of their hunting at night and on the forest floor, but are also very capable in the forest canopy. They can survive falls from trees of up to 20 yards! Martens eat small mammals such as red- backed voles, red squirrels, snowshoe hares, flying squirrels, chipmunks, mice and shrews. To a lesser extent, they feed on birds and eggs, amphibians and reptiles, earthworms, insects, fruit, berries, and carrion.