We were driving home around 7 last night in the dark and although I was keeping a good speed some van overtook our car and just ahead of us started to brake and then come to a halt. We thought : ‘we know your kind’ the type of people who overtake you a second before their exit come up and risk missing it and sending you into the landscape. It was a different scenario though. After a minute or two it indicated and drove onto the other lane to pursue its route, so we moved forward to discover that a little baby pine marten was on the road, no sign of blood but not great movement either. I went out to see it, tried to semaphore to it to move onto the grassy side of the road for safety but it just stared at me so. So after a minute’s hesitation I just grabbed the animal by the skin of the neck and deposited it onto the grass. It did not struggle and then just stayed there staring. We decided that we should offer the creature some comfort as we did not want to see its silhouette imprinted onto the asphalt the next day. We happened to have a cardboard box in the boot so I put it in there and again it hardly struggled. We thought we’d keep it safe until it looked fit to be wild again and return it to where we had found it. By the time we reached home it was more alive, we put it in a cage away from the wind, gave it some meat, and went about our evening business.
I know what you are thinking, we have chickens, this was playing with fire, but what else could we do ? And of course it had escaped the next morning (well again obviously) having slightly widened the gap between two thick wires in the cage. Our only means of protection for our chickens—apart from locking them in at night—is conversation with the predators but this one left before we had time to talk so I do hope it understood that we were wishing it well.
Lovely animal though, I was told that it was introduced in Ireland as a predator for the rabbits that had been introduced previously, and it is now a protected species. Funny world.