The American marten (Martes americana), or marten, often incorrectly called the pine marten because of their close resemblance to their European relative, is a member of the mustelid family.
The name mustelid came from the fact that members of this family have developed anal scent glands which produce a strong repellent smell that are often used to mark territories. Other members of this family that can be found in New York include fisher, ermine, weasel, mink, and the river otter.
Marten are a small, slender bodied mammal with a long bushy tail that measure about one-third of their overall length. They have a pointed snout and large round ears in comparison to their head. Generally, the females are smaller than the males. They also have claws that are semi- retractable, just like a cat. The adult female will measure only 18-22 inches in length and weigh 1.5-1.8 pounds while the adult male will be around 20-25 inches in length and 1.6-2.8 pounds. Their fur is made up of long soft hairs. Fur coloring varies greatly between individuals from a pale buff-yellowish color to a reddish brown, with paler head and underparts and darker legs and a light colored throat patch.
Marten are often confused with fisher, another member of the weasel family. The fisher can be found throughout New York’s marten range and is similar in appearance and tracks, but the fisher is much larger in size than the marten.