Friday, August 21, 2009

Camera Criters: Yellow Bellied Marmot

When we travel to Yellowstone we always set aside a few hours to search the talus fields for yellow bellied marmots. The yellow bellied marmot is a member of the Rodentia (rodent) order even though they can grow to be quite large, adults typically weigh between 5 to 11 pounds.
They are related to, and closely resemble, their more famous cousin the ground hog, except that the yellow bellied marmot is usually found is the western portions of North America in elevations typically above 6500 feet in elevation. The ground hog is more wide spread across North America and prefers to live in low land habitats.
Since marmots are a type of ground squirrel most of them live in burrows that they dig in the dirt. The yellow belied marmot typically digs its burrow under rocks to help hide it from predators like bears, wolves, coyotes, and fox. Often one or more marmots will stand guard in an area where many burrows are located, sometimes sitting up on two legs like their cousin the prairie dog. If a sentry spots a predator in the area it will let out a whistle to warn others in the area about the danger. This is how they got the nickname whistle pig.

7 comments:

Michelle Johnson said...

This guy is so adorable. And, he strongly resembles the groundhog. Love their nicknames. Hope all is well. Good night~

Abraham Lincoln said...

These are nice photographs. I like the story that goes with them as well.

Chris said...

Fantastic shots and story... Now I'm really convinced, once in my life, I have to visit yellowstone!

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Great photos and thanks for the info, I had never heard of marmots.

Dirk said...

Great picture of the marmot, fine quality.

Cezar and Léia said...

Beautiful series of pictures!Cute friend!
purrs from Luxembourg
Luna

i beati said...

superb camera work