SABLE, one of the most valuable of furbearing animals. Although the name sable is often used interchangeably with marten, it should be applied only to the true, or Russian, sable, Martes zibellina. The soft, durable fur of this animal is used to make coats, stoles, and trimmings.
The Russian sable is a small weasellike animal found in parts of northern Europe and Asia. It grows to a length of about 18 inches (45 cm), not including its bushy foxlike tail. its coat varies from yellowish to dark brown above with gray markings on the face and tawny on the throat and underparts. It spends most of its time alone in trees, traveling from branch to branch. A vicious animal, it feeds on birds, squirrels, and other small animals. The mating season is in the summer, and after a gestation period of about nine months, the female produces a litter of usually four blind hairless kittens.