Tuesday, August 14, 2007


If you decide to travel to Kephalonia for a holiday, and you do a spot of research beforehand to try to establish what creatures you might find on the island, you might be led to believe that Pine Martens dwell on Kephalonia. (Even the Natural History Museum of Kephalonia and Ithaca (located in Davgata on Kephalonia) would have you believe that).
A word to the wise here though - Pine Martens do NOT inhabit Kephalonia, it is the BEECH or STONE MARTEN that does instead, in common with large chunks of the rest of Europe.
Now you might be thinking at this point : "Hold on a minute Mr.Black Rabbit! Surely the Natural History Museum of Kephalonia would know what species of animals are in their neck of the woods - NOT you?!"
Not so again I'm afraid. Anna and I took a detour to the museum one day and to say it was disappointing would be a massive understatement. It was more like a bad school exhibition in a 'terrapin classroom'. It told us nothing we didn't already know, and even had a large photograph of a Sparrowhawk named as a young Buzzard - very different birds even for the most casual of ornithologists or even most people mildy interested in wildlife.
Pine Martens inhabit the far north west of Europe (in the main), whereas Beech / Stone Martens are much more widely distributed all over Europe - even becoming pests in some areas.
We saw THREE Beech Martens during our two weeks. All dead on the roads, 2 near the coast, and one up a mountain, but we couldn't stop to take any photos as there were no laybys at those places - shame really.

I can only assume that people listing the Marten species on Kephalonia thought that the Martens MUST be Pine Martens because of all the (Kephalonian) Fir Trees on the island.
Would the two different species of Martens stroll down a path towards you however, you'd be able to tell them apart quite easily. The Pine Marten is darker with a singular round white 'bib', whereas the Beech / Stone Marten is paler with a 'double bib' under its mustelidy chin.
Easy to remember.
Click photo (not mine) to enlarge

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for your blog. It helped me to solve the puzzle of what rodent it is that is inhabiting the roof of our house in poland.

We are currently renovating a very run down house in the south eastern corner of the country. The house is situated right next to a mixed forest with plenty of fir trees. Even most locals did not know what the animals were. I have now come to the conclusion that they must be Stone Martens. They look somewhat like the Pine Martens but are grey in colour and, I believe, smaller. It's hard to be sure since I have only found pictures of Pine Martens, but due to your description I think that's what they are. What do you think?

We must have at least ten of them in our attic and although we are animal loving people we really don't feel like sharing our space with them since they are noisy and starting to destroy the newly installed rain-proofing under the roof. Any ideas how we can get them out of there without using poison?

thanks, George