While walking along the Mawaku River toward the sea, I spotted an unusual set of footprints in the mud.

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Dainty pawprints of the golden-bellied marten. Note the dog pawprint in the lower center of the photo for scale.

They were made by the golden bellied marten (Martes flavigula), a large and lovely member of the weasel family. Longer-legged and heavier than American martens, Taiwan’s marten is capable of hunting baby deer! Now that the clouded leopard is extinct and the Formosan bear increasingly rare, these beautiful secretive creatures, equally at home scaling mountain cliffs, slinking through the jungle undergrowth, or climbing into tree canopies, are Taiwan’s top mammalian predator.

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The gorgeous Martes flavigula, showing off impressive canines…photo in the public domain. 

I hope to see one while I’m here!!

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Hanging out waiting for a fat squirrel… this photo also in the public domain.

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