Monday, 27 June 2011
This afternoon we introduced two of our pine martens together in preparation for the breeding season. After they were seen mating last year, it was decided to let Clyde and Bonnie have another go in the hope they can go one step further and produce a litter of kitts next year.
Normally introducing pine martens is an aggressive affair, and a nervous one for me... but I have never had a problem with these two individuals. They have always seemed to get on well together with no tension at all. Hopefully they will mate again this year, and we may well be looking forward to a litter next year. It would be the first time we have bred pine martens if they do.
I am contemplating introducing Hamish and Buttons too. It would seem silly not to, as they are another potential breeding pair, but Hamish does show a lot of aggression towards Buttons through the wire. This is more normal behaviour, and maybe it is better in terms of trying to breed, but still it makes the whole process more worrying. It was too late in the day to try today, but depending on how they are tomorrow I may give it a go in the morning to give them all day to settle down, while we are there to intervene if needs be.
Pine martens are extremely difficult to breed because of their solitary and aggressive behaviour towards each other, and are seldom bred in captivity. But hopefully we can follow in the success we have had with all our other mammals and produce young kitts in the near future.