Martens are carnivorous mustelids, genus Martes. They occur in northern forests of the eastern and western hemispheres. Martens are long and graceful, with short legs and sharp-clawed toes. They live in hollow trees and take over woodpecker or squirrel holes. They eat rabbits, squirrels, birds, mice, eggs, and carrion. They mate in July and August. Nine months later, one to five young are born. The most common North American marten is the pine marten (American sable). Pine martens are most plentiful in the northern Rockies, Canada, and Alaska. They also occur as far south as the Adirondacks, and west to Colorado. A pine marten is twenty-four to thirty inches long, including a six-inch tail. Its brown fur is thick and soft, with orange or white throat and chest patches. Pine martens are hunted for their valuable fur. Their enemies are lynx, owls, and humans. Similar animals, the baum and stone martens of Europe and Asia, have yellow and white throats, respectively. Another important marten is the fisher, a pine marten subspecies and the largest of martens. Fishers are 4.5 feet long, including 16-inch tails, and weigh up to fifteen pounds. Their luxuriant fur is medium to dark brown, with gold or silver head and shoulder tops and creamy chest patches. Fisher fur is also quite valuable. The fisher habitat range is like that of pine martens, but not as far north. Fishers are the only animals that kill and eat porcupines without being hurt. Otherwise, their diets are like those of other martens.
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