Sable (Martes zibеllinа)


The sable is a mammal animal that belongs to the Cunha family. Its closest relative is the pine marten. Units of representatives of the animal world can boast such a nobility, such elegance and harmony, which has sable.

Sable (animal): description

The body of males reaches 60 cm in length with a weight of 2 kg. Females are much more graceful, they are inferior to males in size. The body of the sable is slightly elongated, short legs, therefore, the back of the animal is arched all the time. Paws are wide, perfectly adapted to terrestrial life. The animal has a very lush tail, whose length reaches 20 cm.

The sable has a triangular head, rather large. The muzzle is a little pointed, framed by triangular large ears.

The real wealth of this animal is its thick lush fur, which becomes even thicker in winter, covering its claws and paw pads. In the summer, the body color of the animal is solid, dark brown, its paws and tail are slightly darker. In winter, his coat becomes paler. The head stands out with a light shade, a bright spot often appears in the throat, which is not observed in summer.

Due to the different color options, the animal had different names: “fur” - the lightest, “head” - black sable, and “vorotovoy” - intermediate color.


Sable is an animal (the photo is presented in this article), which lives in the taiga region of Eurasia. Most of them live in the Far East and Siberia. In addition, a small number of animals exists in Korea, Mongolia, in the northeastern part of China, in the north of the island of Hokkaido (Japan).

If in this space the animal used to live in huge numbers, then at the present moment, due to intensive fishing, its range has sharply decreased. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the population density was at least 10%. Coniferous taiga is the house of the sable. The animal never leaves. It can be found in the dark coniferous forests, where spruce, fir, cedar grow, where it is dark and damp. He chooses hard-to-reach, cluttered places covered with stones, moss, branches.


Sable is a unique animal that leads nomadic and sedentary lifestyles. The beast is tied to a particular site and rarely goes beyond its borders in a lifetime. Forest fires, natural disasters, lack of food, mass deforestation can only force an animal sable, interesting facts about the life of which are given in this article, to leave its habitat.

The animal on its site has a large number of temporary shelters and several permanent. The latter are divided into winter and brood. It is characteristic of the sable that he does not construct his own houses, but uses natural voids.

He chooses a ravine between the stones, a niche under the twists, hollows in lying decks or trees. In winter, he makes his way to his nest under the snow. The animal does not hide a hole, which means that it can be easily found on a huge number of tracks that converge in a common place.

Sable is an almost omnivorous animal. Most of his food are various rodents, mice, shrews, moles, chipmunks. From time to time he catches pika between rocks, sometimes he eats squirrel. Large males can even hunt rabbits. Small passerines (adults, chicks, eggs), black grouse, partridges can become food for the animal from birds. Although he hunts them extremely rarely.

Sables who live in the Far East can also eat fish. During spawning, the animals come out on the banks of rivers, where dead fish are picked. In the winter season, when it is harder to get food, sable feeds on carrion. If a large beast dies, a huge number of these small animals feed on its carrion. Especially for this, they arrange temporary shelters for themselves nearby.

Sable with pleasure to eat and honey. Having found the hollow of bees, he will come to him until the moment when he is not completely devastated (the larvae, the honeycomb, as well as the bees themselves). Although its main food is berries and fruits. He often steals pine nuts from the hollows of other animals, and in the winter season he extracts berries from the snow (lingonberries, blueberries, cloudberries) from under the snow.


Sable is an animal, the fertilization and reproduction of which scientists have studied for a long time. Small sables are born in spring, mainly in April, in the amount of 2-5 individuals. The birth takes place in one of the specially equipped shelters that the female covers with moss, wool and hay. The weight of newborns is about 30 g, while they are completely helpless. In the month they begin to distinguish various sounds, and also open their eyes.

There are several subspecies of animals that differ in habitat, fur and color:

Sable - an animal that is valued for very thick fur. Such a wealth of the animal brought a lot of trouble. His skin is very expensive. She became known as "soft gold." Consequently, these animals were constantly hunted. Because of this, its numbers have declined significantly.

From his fur sew hats, fur coats. At the same time, the peoples of Siberia did not appreciate the sable furs and knocked down their skis. Local hunters tried to save the livestock of animals. The hunt for him was carried out only once in 3 years to restore the population.

Ways of hunting

A sable is an animal that is trapped or hunted with huskies. In the latter case, the animal is driven to a tree, where it is already shot down. But if the sable hides in the thickets, it is almost impossible to expel it from there. Then the hunters set up a net around this place, and then begin to drive it out with a probe. This method of hunting was called obmet.

Taming sable

It should be noted that the sable easily lends itself to domestication. The animal at home resembles the behavior of a cat. This animal very quickly gets used to the owner. At the present moment sables are bred mostly artificially, on fur farms. In captivity, a sable (pet) can live up to 18 years.

Restoration of numbers

Keeping the number of animals, they began to make attempts to breed it in reserves, and then resettled to other territories. This proved to be a difficult task, since at first it was difficult to get offspring. It was necessary to study the habits of the animal, making a lot of effort for this.

When planning the reintroduction of the animal, it is necessary to carefully study the territory of its release, as well as to check whether he lived there before. Of great importance is the change of scenery (fires, deforestation). After re-production at this site, it is necessary to stop fishing for some time.

To determine the territory for sable decisive importance is the presence of a food base, nesting sites, animal competitors and predators.

Breeding sables in captivity

Some difficulties arise when breeding animals at home. The sable is a mobile animal, therefore, a large area is necessary for its vital activity. The cage must be specially equipped: to provide a reliable deadbolt, enough space, windows to tighten with a metal grid. The animal is very smart, it can open the lock without difficulty. So that he was not bored, you can provide plastic toys, because the animal loves to play.

Sable description

Due to the beautiful, durable and quite expensive fur, sable got its second name - “the king of wild fur” or “soft gold”. Scientists stand out about seventeen varieties of sable with different colors and quality of wool, as well as sizes. The most valuable is the Barguzinsky species (Marthes zibеllina rynsers), often found in the east of the Baikal coastline.

It is interesting! In the natural, natural environment there is a white sable, which is a very rare representative of the Cunha family and lives in the conditions of impassable taiga.

Sable-Barguzin differs rich black color of the skin, as well as soft and silky fur. The most light-colored subspecies with coarse and short fur are presented:

  • Sakhalin subspecies (Mārtes zibеllinа sahaininsis),
  • Yenisei subspecies (Martes zibеllinа yеnisеjеnsis),
  • Sayan subspecies (Marthes zibеllinа sajаnеnsis).

The Yakut sable (Mārtes zibеllinа jakutensis) and the Kamchatka subspecies (Mārtes zibеllinа kamtshadalisa) have no less valuable fur.


The maximum body length of an adult sable does not exceed 55-56 cm, with a tail length of up to 19-20 cm. The body weight of males varies between 0.88-1.8 kg, and females no more than 0.70-1.56 kg

The color of the sable skin is very changeable, and all its variations are characterized by special names:

  • "Head" - this is the darkest, almost black color,
  • “Fur” is an interesting color of very light, sandy-yellow color or pale-yellow shades.

It is interesting! It should be noted that males of sable are significantly larger than females, approximately one tenth of the total body weight.

Among other things, there are several intermediate colors, including the "vorotovoy", in which brown tones are very successfully combined with the presence of a dark strap in the back, as well as lighter sides and a large, bright throat spot. Predator with a wedge-shaped and pointed muzzle, has triangular in shape, as well as small paws. The tail is short and covered with fluffy, soft fur. In winter, the coat covers the paw pads as well as the claws. Shed at the animal is carried out once a year.


In captivity sable is kept on average for up to fifteen years. In nature, such a predatory mammal can live for about seven to eight years, due to many negative external factors, lack of prevention of the most common fatal diseases, as well as the risk of meeting with many predators.


Currently, wild sable is quite often found in the entire taiga part of our country, from the Urals and to the coastal zone of the Pacific Ocean, closer to the north and to the very limits of the most common forest vegetation. The predatory mammal prefers to inhabit dark-coniferous and littered zones of the taiga, but especially cedrachi are particularly fond of.

It is interesting! If mountainous and lowland zones of taiga, as well as cedar and birch elfin trees, stony placers, forest tundra, windbreaks and upper reaches of mountain rivers are natural to sable, then the predatory animal avoids settling in the mountainous barren peaks.

Also, the animal is quite often found in Japan, in the area of ​​the island of Hokkaido. Today, in the regions of the eastern Urals, the hybrid form of sable with marten, which is called “kidus”, is periodically found.

Sable ration

Mostly sable hunts on the surface of the earth. Adults and experienced animals spend less time searching for feed, compared with young animals. The main, most important for sable food are presented:

  • small mammals, including voles and shrews, mice and pikas, squirrels and hares, chipmunks and moles,
  • birds, including wood grouse and white quail, grouse and passerine, as well as their eggs,
  • insects, including bees and their larvae,
  • pine nuts,
  • berries, including rowan and blueberry, lingonberry and blueberry, bird cherry and currant, wild rose and cloudberry,
  • plants in the form of wild rosemary,
  • varied carrion,
  • bee honey.

Despite the fact that the sable climbs trees very well, such an animal can jump from one tree to another only if there are tightly closed branches of trees, therefore plant food is limited.

Natural enemies

Exceptionally for the sake of their food, no bird of prey or animal preys on sable. However, the mammal has a pair of food competitors, which are represented by an ermine and a column. They, along with sables, eat all kinds of mouse-like rodents, and are also able to fight for prey.

The most at-risk group among sables are the youngest individuals, as well as very old animals that have lost speed during movement. A weakened mammal may well become a victim of almost any large predator. Young sables are often exterminated by eagles and hawks, as well as owls and other large birds of prey.

Population and species status

In the nineteenth century, sables lived en masse in territories from the Pacific Ocean and up to Scandinavia, but today in European countries such fur-bearing animals almost never occur. Due to too intensive fishing in the last century, the total number and range of sables has significantly decreased. The result of the predatory extermination was the status - "is on the verge of extinction".

In order to preserve the number of wild fur animals, special conservation measures were taken, including the breeding of sables in reserves and resettlement in the original territories. To date, the state of the sable population in many areas of our country, including the Troitsko-Pechora region, does not cause serious concerns. In 1970, the population numbered about 200 thousand individuals, so the sable was listed in the International Red Book (IUCN).

It is interesting! Over the past fifty years, sables have been successfully settled for an eighty-kilometer strip of dark coniferous forest zones, lying close to the Ural Range, and the predator's fishery is carried out in sufficient quantities without economic state support.

However, in order to effectively optimize the extraction of sables, it was decided to carry out a persistent reorientation of the hunters to the self-fishery of the mass species of wild fur. Also very important is the need to regulate production in the season when there is no migration of a valuable commercial animal, which will allow preserving sables on hunting sites.

The appearance of sable in summer and winter

"King of wild furs" refers to the family Kunih and reaches the average for animals of this group of sizes - about a cat. The body length of the male can reach 50-50 cm with a tail, weight - one and a half kg. As with the whole family, sables are characterized by short legs, a flexible body, a wedge-shaped head and rounded ears. From the closest relative - marten - the beast is distinguished by several signs:

  • the lack of a yellowish throat spot, but a lighter head compared to the body,
  • the tendency to settle and find food not on the trees, but on the ground,
  • fur saturated colors with a characteristic sheen.

The summer coat of the sable is darker, but not so thick as to be of interest to the hunter. By mid-October, the animal completely sheds - at this time the famous silky fur with a bluish tint appears. For winter, wool covers even the paw paws and sable claws, because it has to travel in the cold snow.

Attention! When keeping a sable in the house, please note that in the dark the beast is always in motion - it is better to place the aviary in a separate room.

Taiga - the house and the table of a fluffy host

The natural habitat of the sable is the taiga zone of Eurasia, from the Urals to the Far East itself. Most often it lives in mature cedar. In the north and south, the beast does not go beyond the boundaries of the forest, but in the mountainous part of Siberia it often rises to the holtz belt, where it is attracted by the ripening seeds of the cedar elfin wood.

The sable prefers to live in a dark-coniferous forest, while the more a windbreak, a dead tree, a thick underbrush are in it, the better. He feeds on what he finds on earth:

  • rodents,
  • chipmunks and pikas,
  • carrion and beached fish
  • fruits, berries, pine nuts, even honey.

In winter, the sable gains a valuable advantage in snow hunting. When walking, he, like most of the weasels, relies not on the fingers, but on the entire foot. Growing hair for the winter, the foot becomes wider - the beast runs like a ski. He can make his moves under the snow for weeks without going up. At this time, he gladly hunts grouse and black grouse, which are hiding in the snowy holes from the cold.

On its hunting territory, the animal has several shelters in which it waits bad weather or rests after a hunt. He himself never digs a hole, the house for him is a crevice in the stones, a hollow from inverted roots, a low-lying hollow.

Sable in Siberia and Canada

In the past, the sable range was much wider and even reached Scandinavia. However, Russian merchants sold “soft gold” to Europe and the Ottoman Empire in such numbers that by the 16th century they pushed the beast back to the Urals. The hunters and traders followed him east. The indigenous population was besieged with “yasak”: up to 12 pelts per person per year Russia sold abroad up to 80 thousand skins annually.

Due to over-exploitation, the range of the beast has sharply decreased. By the beginning of the 20th century, it consisted of several islands on the map of Siberia. A complete ban on hunting, and subsequently its strict licensing and the creation of sable reserves allowed the animal to re-populate the Russian taiga. In addition to Siberia, a fluffy lover of meat and pine nuts lives in northern Mongolia, in South Korea, Japan and in some parts of China.

In the dense spruce forests of Canada there is an American sable - a species with less valuable fur. It is larger than the Siberian and prone to a woody lifestyle, which is why it is often confused with marten.

В Западной Сибири соболь и куница иногда скрещиваются. Их потомок называется «кидус» и выглядит как нечто среднее между обоими животными. Самки кидусов сохраняют плодовитость и при спаривании с самцами соболя или куницы способны принести потомство.

Because of its extraordinary fur, the sable almost left the fauna of Russia. However, natural caution and an enviable ability to adapt to new conditions saved his life. Once having lost almost its entire range, the wonderful beast once again settled Siberia and feels great in it.

Where sable lives

For sable, the main habitat is coniferous taiga. Sable prefers fir, spruce and cedar trees, of which the so-called black taiga - the wet one - is usually predominantly formed. To a greater extent it is littered with windfalls and overgrown with mosses.

Usually sable settles in the cedar and upper mountain streams. But it can settle and close to the ground - in the thickets of elfin wood, on stony placers. In rare cases, the crammed den in the hollow of a tree crowns.

What sable eats

As already mentioned, the sable is a predator. The basis of its food supply are rodents. Its diet includes pikas and, mainly, a red vole (and in the southern part a red-gray vole). They are assigned primary meaning. Also sable can attack hare or squirrel. Sable destroys several million squirrels in the region in a year. He eats and birds, such as: hazel grouse, or for example, capercaillie. In the spring of hunting for spawning fish. For hunting, usually chooses night or evening, but may go in search of prey in the daytime.

But besides animal food, sable is not averse to taste and vegetable food. He likes: pine nuts, blueberries, cranberries, wild rose. Can eat bird cherry or currants.

Sable. Sable in the reserve "Krasnoyarsk Pillars". Sable in the reserve "Krasnoyarsk Pillars". Sable in the reserve "Krasnoyarsk Pillars".