Sables (Martes zibellina) are long-bodied, short-legged, bushy-tailed weasel relatives (family Mustelidae) found in China, Japan (Hokkaido), Mongolia, North Korea, and Russia. They live in deciduous and coniferous forests (especially mature forests with large trees and a dense canopy), often in mountain regions and near streams. They feed mainly on small mammals (rodents, pikas, hares), but also eat birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, fruits, honey, nuts, and berries. They are active both day and night. Although mainly terrestrial, they climb trees well. Sables are solitary outside the breeding season.
Sables are common throughout most of their distribution, although they are now considered rare in China (where they were once common). They are hunted for their fur--among the most valuable furs in Europe and Asia)--but are also raised on farms to help sustain the fur trade, with over 25,000 harvested annually.
- Larivìere, S. and A.P. Jennings. 2009. Sable (Martes zibellina). P. 632 in: Wilson, D.E. and Mittermeier, R.A., eds. Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 2. Hoofed Mammals. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.