The marten causes millions of dollars worth of damage in German households every year. Once he has occupied his territory, you will not get rid of him again so quickly. Nevertheless, we show you how you can drive away martens and which marten repellent really helps.
They eat up car cables, make a nuisance of themselves in the attic and cause trouble in the neighborhood. When the marten is loose, it rarely affects only one household. The marten causes millions of dollars worth of damage every year. How you can drive away martens and which marten repellent really helps in the attic and in the engine compartment, you will find out in our guide. In addition, we give you tips on how to prevent a marten infestation.
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To chase away martens, why is it so difficult??
Martens have become an integral part of the urban fauna for decades. In residential areas you can find even with up to five animals per 100 hectares more animals than in remote forest areas, where only about one tenth settles.
Martens are territorial animals that always return to their favorite places. They mark these with scent marks, to keep away so also territorial enemies and other martens. If you want to drive away a marten, it will do everything to reclaim its territory.
This attracts the marten to residential areas
In residential areas the marten finds everything his heart desires. He has a special preference for sweet foods especially cherries. If you have a cherry tree in your garden and you find a lot of (already digested) cherry pits under it, you might have a marten visiting you. What is also on the menu:
- Pet food
- Mice and rats
- small birds and pigeons
- Kitchen waste
- Chicken eggs
The marten not only finds plenty of food around the house and in the garden, but also a lot of shelters. Among them attics, barns, cars or piles of wood. In addition the animal is nocturnal, why one runs him only rarely in the dayuber the way.
Which marten species are there in Germany?
When talking about the marten, it is usually the stone marten (Martes Foina). You can recognize it by its gray-brown fur and a distinctive forked white throat patch. Closely related to it is the somewhat shyer pine marten. It looks very similar to the stone marten, but its fur is somewhat darker (black-brown), the throat patch is rather yellow. They both belong to the genus of “real martens” but only the stone marten prefers to roam in residential areas. Other marten species that occur in Germany, but rarely stray into settlements, include:
- American mink
- Mouse weasel
Is it allowed to catch or hunt martens??
Pine martens are not under animal protection, but they are free-living and ownerless animals, which are subject to the hunting law. According to the Federal Hunting Act (BJagdG), hunting is only allowed on land that can be used for agricultural, forestry or fishing purposes. The right to hunt here belongs to the landowner. If you want to catch a marten, you must also have a hunting license.
If the marten is in a “pacified area” for this purpose, the hunter is allowed to hunt around, a hunting practice is forbidden by law even:
On ground areas, which do not belong to a hunting district, and in pacified districts the hunt rests.
(Source:§ 6 sentence 1 BJagdG)
This applies, for example, to:
- Housing estates
- Yard areas
In exceptional cases, the hunting authority may allow property owners to engage in limited hunting by selected hunters. For example, in the case of an animal disease control or to avert danger. However, there is no guarantee that the territory will not soon be occupied by the next stone marten, because it has followed the scent trail.
Martens have an excellent sense of smell. If you want to catch the marten and release it somewhere, you would have to drive up to 20 kilometers to get rid of it. But even then a marten can find his way back to his territory. And if he does not do it himself, the next contender for the vacated territory is sure to arrive soon.
How does the marten get into the house or attic??
Martens love attics, sheds or cellars, because here they can hide during the day in the warmth and also raise their young from March. Martens are also very good climbers. It is easy for them to get into the attic through tree branches, facade greenery or downpipes. Loose or broken roof tiles and small gaps they use as loopholes.
Damage caused by the marten
Martens are generally harmless for humans. Nevertheless, it can be responsible for considerable financial damage to the house, attic or car.
You may not always be able to see the marten, but you can hear it and sometimes smell it. Excrement and prey residues cause strong odor emissions, which can spread to the attic.
If the marten has had young, they can also be heard frolicking and squealing during the day. In the worst case, this can become a long-term noise nuisance.
Another damage that indicates a marten in the attic: destroyed insulation material. The animals like to use this to build their nests. If the insulation is destroyed, this can also result in major financial damage. Due to the lack of insulation, thermal bridges are also formed, which can promote mold growth.
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marten repellent in the attic- what you can do
Once a marten has settled in the attic, it is not easy to get rid of it. Who wants to drive the stone marten away from the attic again or to scare it away, can try the following methods:
- Close up any loopholes (any gap that is larger than five centimeters).
- Trimming back trees and branches to cut off the path to the roof.
- Posts, drain pipes, tree trunks at a height of two meters with a metal or plastic collar provided.
- Cut back facade greenery.
An important credo is also: exclude martens, do not lock them in! So always make sure to close the entry holes only after the marten has left the attic for a short time. Between March and August, young animals can also be in the attic. In this period you should not scare the marten away.
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Do toilet stones and dog hair help against martens?
A widespread myth or is there something to it nevertheless? “Who hangs a WC stone on the attic or in the engine compartment of the car, beats the marten successfully in the escape”, it is called on many Internet sides. The opinions on this go however strongly apart. In the short term, the stone for the toilet may have an effect. However, martens quickly get used to odors and are no longer bothered by them, and the smell of the toilet quickly dissipates.
There is also a widespread belief that marten deterrents such as ultrasonic devices, anti-marten sprays, alarm clocks, mothballs, and dog or human hair will also get rid of the marten. The service agriculture and forest for fishery and hunt (Austria) and also the Nabu describe these measures however as ineffective.
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The “car marten”: Why the marten loves cars
198.000 marten damages and costs of 69 million euro at comprehensive-insured passenger cars reported the general association of the German insurance economy e.V. (GDV) for the year 2018. Although the number fell by seven percent compared to the previous year, the marten has made it back into the top 5 partial insurance claims in 2018. But why does the marten actually like cars so much?
Martens are naturally curious animals that like to chew on objects to examine them. An engine compartment with many cables is of course especially interesting. Since the 1970s, the marten has therefore been one of the best-known “car pests”, The marten marks its territory with scent marks and urine splashes. Thus also itsf Artgenossen know: Here’s something to discover.
What the marten in the car particularly well “tastes”:
- Ignition cables
- Cooling water and windshield water hoses
- Drive shaft and steering bellows
- Insulation of power lines
- Insulation mats for noise and heat mats
According to the Swiss Animal Protection STS, it is mainly male martens that bite the cables of cars that have previously been in another marten’s territory and carry foreign scent marks. Commuters’ cars that are parked in a different place during the day than at night are therefore particularly at risk. Also late parked cars with still warm engine work on the martens attractively.
Car damage caused by martens can be dangerous
According to the ADAC, if the marten has nibbled on the ignition cables, the engine may not run smoothly. Perforated coolant hoses eventually cause the engine to overheat. Damaged rubber sleeves may not be immediately noticeable. In the long term, however, this can also damage drive and axle joints and steering parts, which can be dangerous.
So if you discover a car damage caused by the marten, it is better not to move the car again. The later the damage is discovered, the higher the repair costs can be.
Marten defense in the engine compartment what you can do
So what to do when the marten has conquered your car?? This much is said: A patent solution against marten infestation does not exist. Nevertheless, there are marten deterrents and repellents against martens that, in combination, can protect against a new infestation. These include, for example:
- special electric shock devices (willow fence principle)
- Protective hoses made of hard plastic (for example for ignition cables)
- Engine compartment bulkheads (there is as special equipment, alternatively also engine pans for retrofitting)
- Marderschreckgerate (acoustic or electrical noises)
This way you can also protect your car against further browsing damage by the marten:
- Washing the engine to remove the scent traces.
- Park your car in the garage.
- Park the car more often at different times, so the marten cannot get used to it.
Short-term solutions with a deterrent effect:
- Wire mesh fence
- Put sheet metal or aluminum (foil) under the car
Stone martens are extremely sensitive to noise and are therefore very skittish. If they step on aluminum foil, for example, which you place under the engine compartment, they are startled by the crackling sound and quickly run away. They learn however very fast the noises correctly to classify, the hearing sense seems to be thus with its most important sense.
The Nabu also recommends a wire mesh white to paint. This is more conspicuous and acts as a deterrent to the animals. In practice, this method is said to have proven itself many times over.
Does the insurance pay for marten damage to the car??
It all depends on the insurance. Marten damages are generally insured by the partial or fully comprehensive insurance. With direct marten damage many partial cover insurances carry out in the context of an agreed upon cover sum and possible excess. But: Not all insurances include a marten protection in the partial cover. Many tariffs also exclude consequential damages. It is best to ask your insurer what is covered and what is not covered.
7 tips on how to prevent a marten infestation
Where the marten finds nothing to eat or no suitable shelter, he will probably not mark his territory and settle down. With a few simple tips, you can already reduce the probability:
- Keep garbage and waste inaccessible.
- Do not throw food scraps on the compost.
- Don’t store pet food outside.
- Pick up fallen fruit and harvest ripe fruit.
- Chickens in the garden? Collect eggs and do not leave them lying around.
- Do not feed martens, do not raise foundlings and release them later on.
- Food remainders as well as grill property do not leave outside.
If you fear a marten infestation or all your attempts to drive the marten away have already failed, you can also contact a local exterminator. You can find reputable pest controllers on the website of the German Pest Control Association e.V..
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