Saturday saw the arrival of our first Pine Marten kit of the year, a week earlier than this time last year.
We received a call from Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland on Friday evening after they had been contacted by a NPWS ranger in Tipperary. The ranger had being called out earlier that day to a house who was concerned about some young wildlife.
The house owner who knew they had a Pine Marten nesting in their attic, something this particular female marten had being doing for the last three years.
On that morning they heard loud cries coming from inside their wall. They were extremely worried and began to make a hole in their sitting room wall in an attempt to free them. Thankfully they managed to rescue two tiny kits, who were cold and very hungry. They searched for more kits as Pine Martens can have a litter of between 2 – 4 kits each year.
When born, each weigh less than 30g. The kits will stay in their den for about six weeks and are totally dependent on the female. Kits will then start exploring the area around the den and will stay with the female for at least 6sixmonths, up to a maximum of 12-16 months.
After this period, juveniles will disperse and attempt to establish their own territory.
No other kits were found in the tipperary house. It is thought that something might have happened to the mother who failed to return to her young.
They began to get hungry which caused the kits to move around and then fall down in the cavity of the wall. The kind-hearted ranger then brought the kits home to warm them up and administer fluids.
Sadly, the little female didn’t make it through the night but the male became stronger and was brought to us early on Saturday morning.
He weighted a tiny 146g with his eyes still closed. We placed him in one of our incubators which will keep him at the right body temperature.
He is being bottle fed on a special milk formula and is fed every three hours around the clock.
As most readers will know we have years of experience with orphaned Pine Martens, with a hundred per cent success rate of them being successfully released back to the wild. This kit will stay with us till September and released into a safe and suitable site.