Friday, 13 August 2010

Martin's Martens ...

A friend of ours here in Taunusstein has visitors. Martin has Martens in his garden - as, it must be said, do the rest of us.

Being surrounded by forest, we have a lot of these lovely and playful little critters around us, though they are quite shy most of the time. Semi-nocturnal, you don't see them much in daylight, but you certainly hear them playing and hunting at night. Cousins of the weasel family, they are lithe, quick and eager hunters, so this year, the mouse explosion is probably a bonus for the Pine Martens and the House Martens or Marders as they are called here in Germany.

Though they look cuddly, they cause a lot of damage if they invade your loft. They do a lot of damage to cars as well at this time of the year. For some reason, unknown to mankind, but probably a secret Marten aphrodisiac, they take to chewing the rubber hoses in cars. Get a Marten into your engine and your coolant pipes are suddenly collanders, your electrics lack insulation and several other parts made of rubber or certain plastics - they are selective - are nibbled and stripped.

Martin's Martens have done just that to his car. An Opel - which, again for reasons known only to Marders - their favourite make ... But don't think your BMW or your Merc are immune, if there isn't an Opel around, they'll take second best ...

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