What Is This Creature That Was Photographed in NH’s Crawford Notch?
I'm born and raised (more or less, except for a few childhood years) in New Hampshire. And couple that with a few years that I lived in Malden, Mass and Tulsa, Oklahoma, and long story short I've pretty much lived in the 603 my entire life.
And of all that time that I've lived here, do you know what I've never seen? Better yet -- do you know what I've never even HEARD of? An American Marten (sometimes referred to as the American Pine Marten.) Until this very moment, if you even said the name of it, I'd think you were making up some species. But they're legit, and one was spotted this week at Mount Field in Crawford Notch!
I can't tell if it looks more adorable, or more like it's going to gnaw at your ankles until they don't exist anymore. I mean, it looks like a little cute puffball, right? Ya know, minus the TALONS the thing has on its feet -- you see those things?! YIKES!
To my shock, they're actually sometimes found around this area, though. According to AmericanDiversity.org, the American Marten is found in seemingly pretty cold climates, being present in parts of Canada and Alaska, as well as parts of the Rocky Mountains and the northern tip of California. But they're also sometimes found in parts of New York state (I'm guessing upstate), Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and here in Maine.
So I guess it's no real shock that one was seen in the White Mountains in New Hampshire this week, but still -- my Dad lives NORTH of the mountains and has for the last like, 20 years? You'd think I'd have seen or at least heard of one by now!
AmericanDiversity.org says they're mostly nocturnal and tree dwellers, while doing most of their hunting on the ground during dusk or dawn. And according to the Brave Wilderness YouTube channel, the American Marten is a member of the weasel family and related to the wolverine, badger, and skunk.
So, long story short I guess -- they look cute, but they'll eat your face off. So, proceed with caution, but also admire from afar because CUTE PUFFBALLS! But seriously, be safe. They're pretty vicious predators from what it seems.