Nilgiri marten

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Nilgiri marten
Nilgiri marten by N A Nazeer.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Genus: Martes
M. gwatkinsii
Binomial name
Martes gwatkinsii
(Horsfield, 1851)
Nilgiri Marten area.png
Nilgiri marten range

The Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinsii) is the only marten species in southern India. It lives in the hills of the Nilgiris and parts of the Western Ghats.


Two Nilgiri martens in their natural habitat.

The Nilgiri marten is deep brown from head to rump, with the forequarters being almost reddish, with a bright throat ranging in colour from yellow to orange. It has a prominent frontal concavity and is larger than the yellow-throated marten.[2] It is about 55–65 cm (22–26 in) long from head to vent and has a tail of 40–45 cm (16–18 in). It weighs about 2.1 kg (4.6 lb).[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Nilgiri marten is distributed from the Travancore Kerala, Nilgiris, Kodagu north up to the Charmadi ghats, Karnataka.[4][5][6][7][8][9]

Ecology and behaviour[edit]

The Nilgiri marten is diurnal. It is mainly arboreal, but descends to the ground occasionally. It is omnivorous and preys on birds, small mammals and insects such as cicadas.[10][2] It has also been observed feeding on a variety of fruits and seeds.[11]


  1. ^ Mudappa, D.; Jathana, D. & Raman, T.R.S. (2015). "Martes gwatkinsii". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2015: e.T12847A86161239. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T12847A45199025.en.
  2. ^ a b Prater, S. H. The Book Of Indian Animals (2005 ed.). Mumbai: Bombay Natural History Society, Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ "Zoological Survey of India, Pune". Archived from the original on March 11, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  4. ^ Christopher, G. & Jayson, E.A. (1996) Sightings of Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinsii Horsfield) at Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary and Silent Valley National Park, Kerala, India. Small Carnivore Conservation, 15, 3–4.
  5. ^ Madhusudan, M.D. (1995) Sighting of the Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinsii) at Eravikulam National Park, Kerala, India. Small Carnivore Conservation, 13, 6–7.
  6. ^ Gokula, V. & Ramachandran, N.K. (1996) A record of the Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinsii Horsfield). J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc., 93, 82.
  7. ^ Mudappa, D. 1999 Lesser known carnivores of the Western Ghats IN ENVIS Bulletin : Wildlife, Protected areas: Mustelids, Viverrids and Herpestides of India 2(2): 65–70 Publisher: Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, Editor: S. A. Hussain.
  8. ^ Balakrishnan, P. (2005) Recent sightings and habitat characteristics of the endemic Nilgiri Marten Martes gwatkinsii in Western Ghats, India.
  9. ^ Krishna, K. & Karnad, D. (2010) New records of the Nilgiri marten Martes gwatkinsii in the Western Ghats, India. Small Carnivore Conservation, 43, 23–27.
  10. ^ Hutton, A. F. (1948). "Feeding habits of the Nilgiri marten (Charronia gwatkinsii Horsfield)". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 48 (2): 355–356.
  11. ^ Anil, G.; Kishor, N.; Gafoor, N.; Ommer, N.; Nameer, P. O. (2018). "Observations on the Nilgiri Marten Martes gwatkinsii (Mammalia: Carnivora: Mustelidae) from Pampadum Shola National Park, the southern Western Ghats, India". Journal of Threatened Taxa. 10 (1): 11226–11230. doi:10.11609/jott.3446.10.1.11226-11230.


Nilgiri Marten crossing the road in Anaimalai hills, Southern Wester Ghats

External links[edit]