European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 471–477 | Cite as

Stone martens (Martes foina) and cars: investigation of a common human–wildlife conflict

Original Paper

Abstract

Stone martens (Martes foina) commonly climb into car engine compartments, where they may tear up heat and noise insulation mats or bite into rubber or plastic components. This brings martens into conflict with humans. Although various hypotheses have been suggested as to why martens damage cars once inside them, it is not known what makes martens associate with cars in the first place. We radio-tracked 13 urban stone martens over a 2-year period in Luxembourg to determine the context in which martens visit parked cars at night. Martens associated with cars most frequently in spring and early summer, when their activity on roads was highest and when they systematically patrolled and scent-marked cars. Most visits to cars were of short duration. We suggest, therefore, that the main factor promoting marten–car contact is territorial behaviour, rather than either the thermal benefits to be gained from proximity to recently used engines or the need for a safe environment for resting, hiding or food consumption.

Keywords

Car damage Nuisance wildlife Scent marking Stone marten Territorial behaviour Urban wildlife 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology and Environmental ScienceUniversity of SussexBrightonUK
  2. 2.Service de la Conservation de la NatureDirection des Eaux et ForêtsLuxembourgLuxembourg

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