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Homeowner discovers 'very rare' predator lurking in their garden: 'This may be a newsworthy sighting'

The creature was once found all over Britain, but it was hunted mercilessly until it was given legal protection in 1988.

Pine marten, Very rare predator lurking in garden

Photo Credit: u/Electronic_West2595 / Reddit

A Reddit user from Scotland recently spied a rare predator in their backyard.

They took to r/AnimalID to put a finger on the wily mammal, as it was threatening birds perched in the low limb of a tree.

In the 15-second video, the animal climbed atop a fence and looked around before scurrying away.

Photo Credit: u/Electronic_West2595 / Reddit

Users formed a consensus that the animal is a pine marten. 

"It's my understanding that those guys are currently very rare in Scotland," one commenter wrote. "This may be a newsworthy sighting. I would strongly suggest you contact a local conservation agency and send them this footage. If he's killing your birds they'll likely relocate him for you."

Another said: "Pretty cool to see them, they're pretty shy most of the time. And rare these days."

The creature was once found all over Britain, but it was hunted mercilessly until it was given legal protection in 1988, according to NatureScot. Scotland is now home to about 3,700 adult pine martens.

Pine martens prefer to live in woodlands, often in hollow trees, old squirrel, or old bird nests, and require 86 to 166 hectares (213 to 410 acres) of territory. They survive on rodents, birds, eggs, insects, and fruit.

"The Scottish Wildlife Trust has been running a successful pine marten recovery programme, and sightings of these elusive creatures are becoming more common," according to Experience Scotland's Wild.

The pine marten population in Northern Ireland is bouncing back as well, nearly doubling in five years, the BBC reported in May.

The species could also help the red squirrel population, as those native rodents have adapted to live among pine martens, while the invasive gray squirrel has not.

"They say that once a squirrel could run from one side of Europe to the other without touching the ground, leaping from tree to tree," one user wrote. "And that he'd be followed the whole way by a hungry pine marten."

Another said: "They are amazing creatures. Definitely bring any cats and small livestock indoors. Do not approach because they are sometimes cranky. Call a wildlife management official if you don't want it around."

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