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78   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

provided. The boxes may be outside the pens, bolted to the fence; a hole in the fence and box admits the animals, the box to be 3 of 4 inches above the ground. The boxes should be as dark as possible, with a hole 4 inches in diameter for the entrance of the minks.

MARTEN OR AMERICAN SABLE

 

 

(Mustela Americana)

No marten farms were found in the course of this investigation, although ranchmen were attempting to secure specimens. In the autumn of 1912, one Nova Scotia farm obtained six pairs from Labrador and probably a few more farms in Ontario are stocked.

The experience of only one person in breeding marten was obtain-able, that of A. H. Cocks, of Henley-on-Thames, England,* Mr. Cocks, wl- D has raised five litters of marten in captivity, states that the principal difficulty is to ascertain when the female is in season. If a pair are put together when the female is not in season, it is very apt to end in the death of the female from a sudden snap through her }main by the male.

The marten is one of the most blood-thirsty of animals,

Habits of being inferior only to the weasel and, possibly the fisher, the Marten

in this i espect. It mates pi omiscuously like the rest of

the weasel family and, because of its savage nature, two cannot be put into one pen. The pens should be similar to the mink pens, of No. 17 of No. 18 one-inch mesh wire, but higher and wired all over. The ground may be covered with wire to prevent burrowing or the fence may be sunk into the ground a foot deep. Trees and brush may be placed in the pen, or the pen placed in the woods. They are accustomed to an exceedingly active life in the trees and must have an opportunity provided for exercise or they will not remain long in breeding condition. The nest should be about the size of that advised for the mink, or, possibly, slightly larger.

The difficulty with the marten, as with the mink, comes at Mating   mating time; only it is much harder to control the difficulties

in the marten's case, as mating takes place at night, whereas minks mate at any time. The placing of crossed straws about the pens by the female gives the keeper his clue to the time for the admittance of the male. He should be left in several days. For safety's sake, in

*An account of his experiences has been published in The Zoologist for 1883, p. 203; and in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London for 1900, p. 836,

Further notes on the young of the species are to be found in The Zoologist, 1881, 1897. etc.


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