Marten droppings - a sign of a territory

Marten droppings - a sign of a territory

the essentials in brief

  • Marten droppings can be identified based on their size, shape and consistency and can be distinguished from the droppings of cats, raccoons, hedgehogs or rats. The marten toilets are also typical.
  • The solutions can appear in the garden if it offers optimal living conditions. Houses and cars are not spared. Marten droppings, however, are considered harmless.
  • Stone marten and pine marten are native species. In order to protect pets, children or the car, hygienic aspects should be considered.
  • Orphaned young animals need help. Your feces provide information about your health.

What does marten droppings look like?

Marten droppings are a good way to clearly identify what remains of the animals. If you are unsure who the polluter is, take a photo of the droppings and compare them with the typical properties of different types of droppings. There are not many animals whose legacies resemble those of the marten.

also read

  • Pear melon harvest time - recognizing the signs of ripeness
  • Brown needles - a sign that the Japanese umbrella fir suffers
  • Skimmie: Yellow leaves, a sign that something is wrong

Tips for usable pictures:

  • Scale : Ballpoint pen, folding rule or lens cap are used to later estimate the size
  • Light : natural white balance and neutral daylight ensure a lifelike color scheme
  • Details : Record details such as consistency and toilet space

Marten droppings - appearance

marten droppings

Martens leave behind sausage-shaped droppings that are about 1.5 inches thick and eight to ten inches long. The slightly spiral shape and the pointed ends are typical. Often indigestible remains of its prey are found in the droppings. This can be fur, pips or feathers. Marten droppings smell unpleasant and very intense.

This is what the marten toilet looks like:

  • often only one toilet space is used
  • older and younger manure tracks in one place
  • if this place is cleaned, martens look for a new place

Marten droppings or cat droppings?

The aftermath of the marten is very similar in several respects to cat poop. Appearance, size and color hardly differ. The faeces of both animals give off an odor that is unpleasant for humans. However, martens and cats have different methods of defecating.

colourdeep browndark brown to black
propertiesdoes not contain any indigestible residuesoften with remains of fur, seeds or feathers
Toilet spacesoft or sandy earth, feces are burieda fixed place

Properties of hedgehog droppings

Hedgehogs spread their piles of excrement over a larger area. If there is foliage, they prefer to put their piles in it. The approximately three to four centimeters long and one centimeter thick sausages are shaped like cylinders and have a pointed end. Hedgehog droppings appear black and have a strong sheen. You can often find food residues in the feces. These are indigestible insect shells, seeds or feathers.

How to spot rat droppings

rat droppings

Depending on the species, rat droppings can be between one and 30 centimeters long. In Germany you will mainly find brown rats and house rats. The house rat droppings are about one to two centimeters long and consist of narrow and elongated sausages that are slightly curved. When fresh it is brown and shiny. Older legacies are dry and black in color. Rats do not use a fixed place to defecate. Therefore, their legacies are often spread over a large area.

Legacies of the brown rat:

  • Feces spread over the area in heaps
  • dark brown to black
  • two to three inches long

What does raccoon droppings look like?

Raccoon slogans are easy to confuse with dog feces. The piles consist of short and sausage-like pieces and give off a pungent odor. The faeces often contain remains such as hair from mice or other mammals. The excrement is preferably deposited in elevated depressions, because raccoons are considered extremely clean.

Is marten droppings dangerous?

Basically, marten droppings are not dangerous. The leftovers contain various germs and bacteria that are found in all types of feces and can be harmful to health. If the animal is sick, contact may well lead to infection.

Toxoplasmosis from marten droppings?

Cat feces

There is no evidence that martens can transmit toxoplasmosis to humans through their feces. The main host responsible for the infectious disease is the cat. This excretes the pathogen with the feces, which multiply in various intermediate hosts and trigger various symptoms. Vertebrates such as birds or rodents can be used as intermediate hosts.


What is toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is caused by the unicellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii. It occurs in intermediate hosts through smear infections with cat feces, which can result from gardening or the consumption of unwashed vegetables. Meat can also be a source of infection if the slaughtered animals eat food contaminated with cat feces. Around half of the population in Germany goes through toxoplasmosis in their lifetime. In healthy children and adults, the disease proceeds without symptoms and heals on its own.

Hantavirus through marten droppings?

Hantaviruses are spread all over the world. In Germany, the pathogens are transmitted to humans through the feces of infected rodents such as mice and rats. Bank vole and fire vole are major hosts. The viruses can be absorbed by the dust of dried fecal residues. Martens are not typical hosts of the hantaviruses, which is why their feces are not a source of infection.

Worm diseases

Martens can be hosts for various worm parasites. The parasites found in stone martens so far belong to the genus Capillaria. These hairworms infest the main host's internal organs. So far there is no evidence that fox tapeworms can be transmitted via the marten droppings.

Marten droppings in the garden

Finding marten droppings on your doorstep or on the lawn is an uncomfortable and frightening experience for many people. Feces on the terrace or balcony are a sure sign that a marten has taken root in the area. If his territory is in the house, there can be noise pollution, especially at night.

Typical martens:

  • lives near bodies of water
  • withdraws to his hiding place during the day
  • becomes active at night and moves on the ground in search of food
  • can climb well
  • does not dig any burrows himself, but uses existing hiding places and structures

Marten droppings in the house

It is not uncommon to find the remains of the marten in the attic. The population density of the animals is particularly high in rural regions. In agriculturally used buildings and dark attics you will find optimal possibilities to give birth to your offspring protected. After the birth, they are looked after by their mother until they are driven out of their own territory in autumn. The young martens roam around and try to settle in the neighboring buildings.


Martens in the car

Beech martens are not after cables, insulation material and hoses in the car. As is often assumed, they are not attracted by the residual heat from the engine. Rather, the animals try to defend their territory. If a marten perceives scent marks or the smell of excrement from a fellow species, which are in the engine compartment or under the car, it becomes aggressive.

Only the second marten, who smelled the first rival, damaged the car as an expression of territorial defense. He bites the marked car parts and deposits more feces there. This behavior can be observed increasingly in the mating season.

Engine compartment means living space:

  • ideal hideaway to relax
  • Retreat from enemies
  • Larder for leftovers

What to do if…?

Marten droppings can appear anywhere in the garden, because the stone marten is considered to be a cultural follower and colonizes habitats close to humans. This behavior does not always meet with goodwill. In most cases, there is nothing to worry about, as the mammal legacies hardly cause any problems.

Marten droppings are annoying but in most cases no more dangerous than the remains of other mammals.

Marder pooped on the car

As long as the manure is still fresh, you can remove it with a spray bottle. Hardened feces can be softened with a mixture of water and a little vinegar and carefully scraped off with a blunt object.

If the manure has burned itself into the paint, polishing and subsequent sealing will help. A thorough cleaning of the car is necessary so that the marten does not mark its territory again. Devices made of wood and fine-meshed wire around the car ensure that the marten does not get on the roof.

Eating damage in the engine compartment

marten damage

It doesn't help much if you move the car marked by scent marks to another place. This will attract more martens that are territorial in this area and risk damage. Thoroughly clean your car so that all traces of scent are removed from the engine compartment. Parking spaces or garages should also be cleaned thoroughly.

Protection against martens:

  • Install electronic marten defense in the engine compartment
  • Slide the wooden frame with close-meshed wire mesh under the engine compartment after parking
  • After cleaning the engine compartment, spray it regularly with marten deterrent

Baby ate marten droppings

In most cases, if your child has eaten marten droppings, you don't have to worry. This is considered harmless. Because of the germs in the marten droppings, the baby can get diarrhea. In the worst case, your offspring will be affected by a worm disease, which is why you should keep an eye on the child's stool. However, the risk of infection with small amounts of swallowed feces is extremely low.

Dog eats marten droppings

Eating feces is typical for many dogs and indicates a disturbed intestinal flora. The dog notices early on that the microflora in the intestine is no longer in balance. By eating the feces of other animals, he trains the immune systems of his intestines. It picks up pathogens and worms, so the immune system has to be active. If your dog eats marten droppings, it can develop diarrhea or nausea and become infected with worms. In order to stop the feces eating, you need to identify possible triggers for this behavior:

  • Disease of the pancreas
  • severe worm infestation
  • Eating feces in an attempt to attract attention

Which martens live in the garden?

species of marten

The stone marten belongs to the real martens. This genus contains seven species that are common in Eurasia and North America. Martens prefer habitats near the forest, whereby the stone marten is the exception and is classified as a cultural follower. There are two types in Germany.

Beech martenPine marten
habitatopen area with bushes and trees, preferably close to peopleDeciduous and mixed forests, occasionally large parks
Way of lifepredominantly soil dwellerspredominantly tree dwellers
Distinguishing featurewhite spot on the throat, often forkedyellowish-brown throat spot, rounded downwards

Hatchling found

Young animals of different species look confusingly similar up to the age of seven weeks. The typical identifying features only develop with increasing age. Before initiating relief measures, you should identify the species and determine the state of health. Healthy infants have sun-yellow, spherical faeces.

Possible signs of illness:

  • dark discoloration in the feces
  • liquid or pulpy consistency
  • very watery feces
  • brown to almost black diarrhea


You normally do not see children of martens. If they are outside their nest, this can be an indication of orphaned young animals.

Distinguishing beech marten from fox

recognize marten

In relation to their bodies, foxes have larger heads and smaller ears than martens. Your forehead is clearly set off from the nose, while the marten is characterized by a smooth transition from nose to forehead. Foxes are born hairy and have a white tip. Martens are climbers and have sharp claws that they can use to hold onto the bark. Foxes are not made to climb and do not have climbing feet.

Recognize beech martens and squirrels

Although these animals are not closely related, they can be confused at a very young age. Both young animals have a white bib that is more or less white in color. The main difference is in the leg length. With their long legs, squirrels are reminiscent of small kangaroos. The reddish or black fur color of the squirrel shows up very early. Their droppings are firm and dark brown to black.

Differences between stone marten and pine marten

The young of both species are difficult to distinguish for the layman. Pay attention to the habitat in which you will find the young animal. Pine marten avoid human habitation. If you discover a nest in the attic or in the garden shed (7.70 € on Amazon *), it is most likely a stone marten.

Suitable nest locations for martens:

  • abandoned bird nests
  • quiet and protected places
  • Holes in old stumps

Young pine marten can be recognized by their chocolate noses. Beech martens have a lighter nose. The soles of the feet become hairless. The bodies of the stone marten are slightly shorter and heavier than those of the pine marten. This feature can only be recognized in direct comparison and can be indistinct in the youth stage.


You can contact the Marten Relief Network to determine if you are unsure.

First aid

Baby marten

Infants depend on the protection of their mother and should not be taken in carelessly. If it is clear that the animal needs help, warm it and protect it from drying out. Handle the young animal with care, as moving to a new environment means stress. Strong temperature changes cause circulatory problems, which is why you should put the baby in a box lined with cloths in a warm room. Later you can put a wrapped hot water bottle under the animal.

Emergency prescription:

  • Brew one tea bag each of chamomile and fennel
  • because of the suspended matter, prepare a second infusion and let it steep for three minutes
  • Sweeten 100 ml tea with half a teaspoon of organic beekeeper honey
  • Give body warm tea in two to three meals

After the young animal has received enough liquid, it must be supplied with a special rearing milk. Cow's milk or milk for cats is not suitable for feeding marten babies. It leads to diarrhea and in the worst case to death. Martens can quickly affect humans, which is why a sure instinct is required. Find a wildlife sanctuary in the next 24 hours. You can also contact NABU to find addresses in your area.

frequently asked Questions

Do martens attack people?

Martens are shy animals that avoid being close to humans. If they have to defend their offspring or are cornered, an attack can ensue. They have extremely sharp teeth and can bite hard. A marten bite can be painful and bleed.

What does the droppings of healthy martens look like?

Young animals leave sun-yellow and misshapen globules in the first few weeks when they are suckled with milk. The droppings turn brown and take on a shaped consistency when the animals are given solid food. Adult animals are considered omnivores. Indigestible remains such as feathers, bones or seeds can often be seen in their slogans. The sausages are spirally shaped and pointed at the ends. A permanent toilet space is typical for martens.

Why do martens leave traces of feces and urine?

The animals are territorial and colonize a fixed territory. Martens mark their territory to protect it from rivals. To do this, they use a secretion that is produced by the anal glands. If a competitor penetrates into their own territory, the martens notice this offense due to the unknown scent brands. They begin to leave more feces and urine in these areas. As a result, it happens that you find traces of feces and urine in the engine compartment or under the car.

Why is there more car damage from martens in spring and autumn?

The mating season of the martens extends over the spring. During this time there are more fights between the males willing to mate. If an animal finds traces of a competitor in its own territory, it tries to remove and cover up the scent traces. Ignition and ABS cables or cooling water and brake hoses are often damaged. This damage also occurs more frequently in autumn, because then the young animals born in spring look for their own territory.