Mammals


I was very lucky today! I was standing stock still leaning against a tree, trying to take a photo of a woodpecker, when I heard a rustling in the ferns nearby… It was a Japanese marten (ten) and it hadn’t noticed me. The sound of the camera shutter made it a bit nervous and it looked in my direction, eventually sneaking off into the brush. I’m happy to have been able to watch it for a few minutes, but I wish my camera was a bit quieter! To be honest, at the time I thought I was watching a weasel (see my post here), but I realized later that it was far too big. After a bit of research on the internet, I found some pictures that suggested it was in fact a marten (see here).

There’s lots of interesting information about the Japanese marten on the Animal Diversity Web run by the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology.

(Added 14th April): Thanks to Dr. Masatoshi Yasuda for checking my identification. He works in the Forest Zoology Laboratory, Kyushu Research Center, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute.

martenmartenmartenmartenmartenmarten

Family: Mustelidae (badgers, otters, weasels, and relatives)
Subfamily: Mustelinae (martens, weasels, wolverines, and relatives)

Japanese marten = ten
Martes melampus

Location: Near Hyoutan Pond (map)

I’ve seen weasels (itachi) many times on my walks and when driving my car, but this was my first chance to get some photos. I was walking along a road in the countryside near my home and luckily saw the weasel before it saw/heard me. I slowly moved my camera into position and managed to get some fairly decent shots before the weasel understood that I was not in fact a strange new species of tree, and made its escape.

Mustela itatsiMustela itatsiMustela itatsiMustela itatsi

Family: Mustelidae (badgers, otters, weasels, and relatives)
Subfamily: Mustelinae (martens, weasels, wolverines, and relatives)
Genus: Mustela (ermines, ferrets, minks, and weasels)

Mustela itatsi
Japanese weasel = nihon-itachi

Location: Road through orchards near Munakata Common (map)

This juvenile harvest mouse (kaya-nezumi) was sitting on a fern right next to the path. It posed for a couple of photos and then scrambled off into the undergrowth.

Micromys minutusMicromys minutus

Class: Mammalia; Order: Rodentia; Family: Muridae
Micromys minutus = Harvest mouseĀ (kaya-nezumi)