martens cause millions of euros worth of damage in german households every year. Once it has occupied its territory, it is not easy to get rid of it again. Nevertheless, we show you how you can drive martens away and which marten repellent really helps.
They eat up car cables, do their mischief in the attic and cause trouble in the neighborhood. When the marten is loose, it rarely affects just 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 can find out in our guidebook. In addition we give you tips, how you can prevent a marten infestation.
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Marten drive away, why is that so difficult?
Martens have become an integral part of the urban fauna for decades. In residential areas, there are even up to five marten per 100 hectares, which is more than in woodland areas far away from residential areas, where only about one tenth of the marten live.
Martens are territorial animals that always return to their favorite places. They mark these with scent marks to keep away territorial enemies and other martens as well. If you want to drive a marten away, it will do everything it can to reclaim its territory.
This attracts the marten to residential areas
In residential areas the marten finds everything his heart desires. It has a special predilection for sweet foods, especially cherries. If you have a cherry tree in your garden and you find a lot of (already digested) cherry pits underneath it, you might have a marten visitor. What’s also on the menu:
- Animal feed
- Mice and rats
- Small birds and pigeons
- Kitchen waste
- Chicken eggs
Martens not only find plenty of food around the house and in the garden, but also a lot of hiding places. Underneath roof decks, barns, cars or wood piles. In addition, the animal is nocturnal, which is why you rarely run him during the day the way.
Which marten species are there in germany?
When we talk about the marten, we are usually talking about 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 (blackish brown), and the throat patch is more yellow. They both belong to the genus of "true martens" but only the beech marten prefers to roam in residential areas. Other marten species that occur in Germany but rarely stray into settlements include:
- American mink
Is it allowed to catch or hunt martens?
Although pine martens are not subject to animal protection, they are free-living and ownerless animals that are subject to hunting laws. According to the federal hunting law (bjagdg), hunting is only allowed on land that can be used for agriculture, forestry or fishing. The hunting right is here to the landowner. Anyone who wants to catch a marten must also have a hunting license.
If the marten is in a "pacified area" for this purpose around, hunting is even prohibited by law:
Hunting is not allowed on land that does not belong to a hunting district and in pacified districts.
(source:§ 6 sentence 1 bjagdg)
This applies, for example, to:
- Housing estates
- Green areas
- Yard space
In exceptional cases, the hunting authority may allow property owners to engage in limited hunting by selected hunters. For example in an animal disease control or for danger defense. 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 its way back to its territory. And if he does not do it himself, the next candidate 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 they can hide here in the warmth during the day and raise their young from March onwards. Martens are also very good climbers. It’s easy for them to get into the attic via tree branches, facade greenery or downpipes. Loose or broken roof tiles and small gaps are used by martens as holes to hide in.
Damage caused by the marten
Martens are generally harmless to 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. The remains of droppings and prey give off strong odors that can spread through the attic.
If the marten has had young, they can also be heard frolicking and squeaking during the day. In the worst case, this can become a long-term noise nuisance.
Another damage that points to a marten in the attic: destroyed insulation material. This is what the animals like to use for nesting. If the insulation is destroyed, this can also result in major financial damage. The lack of insulation also creates thermal bridges that 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 so easy to get rid of it again. If you want to chase the stone marten out of the attic or scare it away, you can try the following methods:
- Close up any holes (any gap larger than five centimeters).
- Trim back trees and branches to cut off the path to the roof.
- Put a metal or plastic sleeve on posts, drain pipes, tree trunks at two meters high.
- Cut back facade greenery.
An important credo is also: exclude martens, do not lock them in! So always make sure to close the loopholes only after the marten has left the attic for a short time. Between march and august, young animals can also stay in the attic. During this period, you should not scare the martens away.
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Do urinal stones and dog hair help against martens??
A common myth or is there something to it after all? "If you hang a toilet stone in the attic or in the engine compartment of your car, you will successfully put the marten to flight", it is said on many internet pages. However, opinions differ widely on this subject. For a short time, the stone for the toilet may show 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 repellents such as ultrasonic devices, anti-marten sprays, alarm clocks, mothballs, and dog or human hair can be used to drive away martens. However, the agricultural and forestry service for fishing and hunting (austria) and also the nabu describe these measures as ineffective.
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The "car marten": why the marten loves cars
198.000 marten damage and costs of 69 million euros for cars with comprehensive insurance were reported by the German Insurance Association (GDV).V. (GDV) for the year 2018. Although the number fell by seven percent compared to the previous year, the marten still made it back into the top 5 partially comprehensive 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 in order to examine them. An engine room with a lot of cables is of course particularly interesting. Since the 1970s, the marten has therefore been one of the best-known "car pests", marking their territory with scent marks and urine splashes. In this way, its fellow species also know: there’s something to discover here.
What martens particularly "like" in cars:
- Ignition cables
- Coolant and windshield water hoses
- Bellows of the drive shafts and the steering system
- 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 parked in another marten’s territory and bear foreign scent marks. cars of commuters, which are parked in a different place during the day than at night, are therefore particularly endangered. Even cars parked late with the engine still warm have an attractive effect on martens.
Car damage caused by martens can be dangerous
If the marten has nibbled on ignition cables, this can cause the engine to run out of round, according to the ADAC. 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 as well as steering parts, which can be dangerous.
So if you discover 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 protection in the engine compartment- what you can do
So what to do if the marten has invaded your car?? This much should be said: there is no patent solution against marten infestation. Nevertheless, there are marten deterrents and defense systems against martens, which 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 (e.g. for ignition cables)
- Engine compartment bulkheads (available as special equipment, or alternatively engine pans for retrofitting)
- Marten deterrent devices (acoustic or electric sounds)
This way you can also protect your car against further damage caused by martens:
- engine wash to remove the scent traces.
- Park the car in the garage.
- Move 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 noises and are therefore very frightened. If, for example, they step on aluminum foil that you place under the engine compartment, they are startled by the crackling noise and quickly run away. However, they learn very quickly to classify the sounds correctly, so the sense of hearing seems to be one of their most important senses.
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 damage is generally covered by partial or fully comprehensive insurance. In the case of direct marten damage, many partially comprehensive insurance policies provide coverage within the scope of an agreed sum insured and a possible deductible. But: not all insurances include a marten protection in the partial casco. In many tariffs, consequential damage is also excluded. Ask your insurer what is covered and what is not.
7 tips on how to prevent a marten infestation
Where the marten has nothing to eat or no suitable shelter, it will probably not mark its territory and settle down. With a few simple tips, you can already reduce the probability:
- Keep trash and debris out of reach.
- Do not throw food residues on the compost heap.
- Do not 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 their young and release them later.
- Do not leave food scraps or barbecue food 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 chamber hunter. You can find reputable pest controllers on the website of the german pest controller association e.V..
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