8 Facts About Marmots In The Rocky Mountains

marmots

Photo via Flickr.

Marmots are a very cool animal that live high up in the Rocky Mountains.  Here are 8 fun facts about these cool mammals.

When I was younger I had a period where I was obsessed with hiking to the tops of mountains.  I loved the feeling of physical exhaustion it brought.  Additionally, I truly fell in love with the alpine world and its unique animals, such as the marmot.  They look like little furry teddy bears hanging out in rocks and boulders.  Well, I wanted to share some fun facts about marmots with readers to help you see why I like them.

marmots

Photo via Flickr.

8 Fun Facts About Marmots

They can often be seen sitting on a boulder near or above its den.  They do this in the summer to sun themselves and warm up, but also to keep an eye out for predators.

They hibernate in the winter, which can be a very long time high up in the Rocky Mountains.  They hibernate between 5 and 9 months a year!  Can you imagine sleeping for over half the year every year in a dark hole in the ground? Their hibernation burrows can be very deep underground – up to 20 feet down!

marmots

A Hoary marmot lives at high elevations in the Rocky Mountains. Photo via Flickr.

There are 14 species of marmots in the world, but only 2 in the Rocky Mountains.  The two species of marmots tend to live at different elevations.  Hoary marmots are the ones living high up, above 11,000 feet while the Yellow bellied live below 11,000 feet.

They don’t have a lot of predators, but they are sometime eaten by grizzly bears, wolverines, or golden eagles.

When they see a predator they will make a loud, sharp chirping or whistling noise.

marmots

Marmots can be hard to see in the mountains. Photo via Flickr.

During the summer months they need to eat a lot of food in order to put on enough fat reserves to survive their long hibernation during winter.  They are herbivores and eat grasses or other low growing plants.

Yellow bellied marmots live in a harem, which is one male with a few females that he breeds with.

Marmots mate in the spring and give birth to 4-5 young after 30 days gestation in May/June.  Compare that with the nine months it takes human   The young are altricial, living with the parents that first year and even hibernate with the mother the first winter.  Then in the spring the male leader of the harem will kick out the boys and make them leave.

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