The Sable is a species of Pine Marten that inhabits forests across much of Russia, eastern Kazakhstan, northern Mongolia, China, North and South Korea and Hokkaidō in Japan. This small carnivorous mammal measures between 35-56 cm in body length and have a tail measuring up to a further 12 cm. They weigh between 880 to 1,800 when fully grown.
They are famed for their fur which ranges from light to dark brown, with individual fur color being lighter ventrally and darker on the back and legs. Sables greatly resemble pine martens in size and appearance, but have more elongated heads, longer ears and proportionately shorter tails. Their skulls are similar to those of pine martens, but are larger and more robust.
Sables inhabit dense forests dominated by spruce, pine, larch, cedar, and birch in both lowland and mountainous terrain. They defend home territories that may be anything from 4 to 30 square kilometres in size, depending on the local terrain and availability of food. However, when resources are scarce they may move considerable distances in search of food, with travel rates of 6 to 12 kilometres per day having been recorded. Sables live in burrows near riverbanks and in the thickest parts of woods. These burrows are commonly made more secure by being dug among tree roots. They are good climbers of cliffs and trees. They are primarily crepuscular, hunting during the hours of twilight, but become more active in the day during the mating season. Their dens are well hidden, and lined by grass and shed fur, but may be temporary, especially during the winter, when the animal travels more widely in search of prey.
Sables are omnivores, and their diet varies seasonally. In the summer, they eat large numbers of hares and other small mammals. In winter, when they are confined in their retreats by frost and snow, they feed on wild berries, rodents, hares, and even small musk deer. They also hunt ermine, small weasels and birds. Sometimes, sables follow the tracks of wolves and bears and feed on the remains of their kills. They eat molluscs such as slugs, which they rub on the ground in order to remove the mucus. Sables also occasionally eat fish, which they catch with their front paws. They hunt primarily by sound and scent, and they have an acute sense of hearing. Sables mark their territory with scent produced in glands on the abdomen. Predators on the sable include a number of larger carnivores, such as wolves, foxes, wolverines, tigers, lynxes, eagles and large owls.