CAPTIVATING footage shows Pine Martens playing like kittens in the Scottish Highlands.
The creatures have a reputation as solitary and fearsome hunters but camera trap clips from two separate locations show a different side to the Pine Marten.
The first video shows two Pine Martens playing with each other around Fochabers, Moray, after they were captured on a camera trap by wildlife enthusiasts Chris Reid and Euan Dalgliesh.
The second video was taken by Neil Stonehouse at Abernethey Forest, in the Cairngorms National Park which shows two Pine Martens playing around a tree.
The first video shows a Pine Marten standing on top of a log as it appears to be perusing around a tree stump.
The Pine Marten then looks down towards the ground, and then turns around and begins scratching the log.
Then all of a sudden a second Pine Marten bursts out from under the log and bites the other one’s dangling tail. This prompts antics between the two strongly reminiscent of kittens fighting.
The second video shows two Pine Martens playing around a tree.
Two Pine Martens come down from the tree and approach the camera with two pairs of beady eyes glowing in the moonlight.
Suddenly both Pine Martens race up on to the tree as if they were playing tag.
One Pine Marten is facing the tree as it grips on to the trunk, whilst the other Pine Marten sticks its head out from behind the tree looking out for its accomplice.
The first Pine Marten then hides behind the tree as the second one then chases after it, only to be disappointed when the first Pine Marten wasn’t there.
The first Pine Marten then appears out from the bottom of the left hand side of the tree, as the bushy tail of the second Pine Marten can be seen sticking out from the right hand side of the tree.
Both videos have proved very popular on social media.
Margaret McGregor said: “Fantastic.”
Primrose Sutherland added: “Love this it made me smile when they played hide and seek.”
Jan Forson wrote: “Brilliant, and mind some guy was trying to convince you that there weren’t any nearby.”
Assistant manager Euan and distillery operator Chris built a hide so they can capture wildlife without disturbing their natural habitat.
Euan, 47, today said they haven’t seen them behave quite like this before.
Euan said: “It is the first time we have seen them play like this at the hide and we have only managed to capture them a couple of times with our cameras as they are very shy creatures and these ones only venture out in the dark.
“I am over the moon we are getting regular visits from not just one but two. Hoping it’s a family and if so finger crossed we might get some young in the not to distant future.”
34-year-old Chris said that they have caught a variety of species on the camera trap.
“We are both passionate about wildlife and photography and we live in an area that has many great species right on our doorstep.
“We wanted to have somewhere close by that we could use to capture some great images and to view this wildlife.
“Some of the species we have caught on trail camera and DSLR are Pine Martens, Foxes, Badgers, Tawny Owls, Sparrowhawk, Buzzards and Red Squirrels.
“It is a hobby that has grown arms and legs and we are regularly approached by people looking to use our hide and also people wanting to buy prints or our images.”
Euan believes that the Pine Martens play an important role in the local ecosystem.
Euan continues: “Some (people) are against them because they prey on squirrels, but we have visits to the hide from red squirrels and badgers along with the pine martens. I believe these are the ones that are keeping the grey squirrels at bay.
“All animals play an important role in our ecosystem. I love the diversity of our wildlife and hope it continues and if I can do a little to help then I will.”
You can see some more work from Euan and Chris on their dedicated Facebook pages ‘Wild Moray Pics by Euan Dalgliesh’ and ‘Speyside Snaps by Chris Reid.’