Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Family Mustelidae
Genus Martes
Species foina
Classification Erxleben, 1777
Common name stone marten
Size 45 - 50 centimeters. Tail: 25 - 30 centimeters
Male weight 1200 - 2000 grams
Female weight 1000 - 1500 grams

Geographic Range Central and southern Europe (excluding Scandinavia, England, Iceland), North America.
Physical Characteristics the fur is reddish-brown, with the exception of the throat and of the breast which are white. The sole of the paws has no hair, the nose is flesh colour. The tail is long and thick, the ears have a white margin. The stone marten can open its small mouth so wide that the jaw and the mandible can form a right angle and it can carry big prey and eggs without breaking them.
Behaviour it is solitary; it is a good climber, active most of all at night when it goes out to hunt. During the mating season, which occurs from between July and August, it is very noisy. It owns odoriferous glands located on the paws, on its belly and in the anal region with which it marks the territory. It moves leaping, leaving a series of parallel paw prints in which the trace of back paws coincides with that of the front ones.
Habitat cultivated areas, deciduous woods, anthropized environments.
Food habits its diet changes according to the seasons and consists mainly of rodents, bird eggs, berries, insects, small birds.
Reproduction it reaches sexual maturity at the age of 2-3 years. It reproduces in July-August, but the development of the egg begins only in January-February; as a consequence, the young (from two to four) are born in March-April. After their birth the male is sent away by the female. The young are born naked and blind, they open their eyes at the end of the week. The female looks after the young (which become independent after three months, when they reach the adult size) for 6-8 weeks. The nest is built also in the nests abandoned by other animals and in the hollows of the trees.

References Ministère de la Région wallonne
Web References http://mrw.wallonie.be/mrw/
Source of the photo http://www.landwirtschaft-mlr.baden-wuerttemberg.de/la/LVA/WFS/Wildtiere/Steinmarder/Smarder.htm
Pawprint images source http://www.regione.emilia-romagna.it/parchi/fauna/faina.htm

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