Yellow Bellied Marmot – Have You Seen These Rock Stars?

yellow bellied marmot

A yellow bellied marmot. Photo via Flickr.

A yellow bellied marmot is a very neat animal that lives in the Rocky Mountains.  Here is some basic information about this true rock star (it lives in rocks).

If you recall from my post a few days ago, I really like marmots.  These small mammals are one of those animals that truly epitomize the Rocky Mountains for me.  You can’t find them in the plains of the midwest, but only up in the mountains.  I think part of why they hold a special allure for me is that they live in these amazing mountains that I love so much.

yellow bellied marmots

Photo via Flickr.

How Many Species Of Marmots Live In The Rocky Mountains?

I have a tent that my wife and I call our super tent because it is so sturdy and strong.  It can withstand tough storms no problem.  That tent is like it’s namesake animal, which is a small mammal the size of a house cat.  A marmot ranges in size from 19 to 30 inches long.

There are two species in the Rocky Mountains – the Yellow bellied marmot and the Hoary marmot.

The yellow bellied marmot is one of the common mammals of the Rockies and has brownish/reddish fur, yellow belly, and a white spot between its’ eyes.

The hoary marmot has more of a pale silver gray fur with a brownish rear end.

yellow bellied marmot

Giving a warning call. Photo via Flickr.

Where Does The Yellow Bellied Marmot Live?

These mammals live at high elevations in seemingly inhospitable areas.  They tend to like rocks and boulders and live in small burrows.

Interestingly, the two Rocky Mountain species of marmots seem to live in similar niches, but at different elevations.  The Yellow bellied marmot tends to live at lower elevations between 6,000 to 11,000 feet.  In contrast the Hoary marmot is usually found at higher elevations above 11,000 feet.

Notes On The Yellow Bellied Marmot

These small mammals have quite a long life span, living up to 13 or 15 years.

These mammals live in a small harem colony.  Yes, that means that one male will live with his harem of one or several females with whom he mates.

yellow bellied marmot

A baby yellow bellied marmot. Photo via Flickr.

Female yellow bellied marmots have a very short gestation period – the time from which they become pregnant until they give birth.  It takes humans nine months to make a baby, but it only takes these mammals 30 days!  The babies are born needing a lot of care from the parents and don’t leave the den for several weeks.