Ever Heard of Marmots?
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Ever Heard of Marmots?

A closer look at Marmots, an animal which looks like squirrels but much larger
       We were practically familiar with squirrels, groundhogs and prairie dogs as we usually see their pictures on National Geographic, wildlife or outdoor magazines but we may feel strange about seeing a similar creature which may look bigger in size, a bit robust and a lot cuter, the marmots.

Marmots are large ground squirrels belonging to genus Marmota composed of 14 species. They usually flourish in mountainous areas like Alps, Carpathians, Eurasian steppes, Pyrenees in Europe and places like Sierra Nevada in the US, northern Canada and certain plateaus in Asia. They normally dig and live in burrows or rock piles and practice hibernation during winter. Marmots thrive on many types of grasses and greens, berries, lichens, roots and flowers. Their typical sound when alarmed is characterized by loud whistles in communicating with each other thus showing their social nature.

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Alpine Marmots are found only in the Alps along central and southern Europe and live at places with higher elevations as high as 800 to 3,200 meters. They are great diggers and could live 9 months of the year in hibernation. Reaching 4 to 8 kilograms when adult, Alpine Marmots are considered the largest species of squirrel.

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The Gray or Altai Marmot could be found in China particularly in Xinjiang province and could be seen through Kazakhstan down to Southeastern Siberia.

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Long –Tailed Marmots or Golden Marmots usually prefer temperate grasslands and are usually found in Afghanistan, China, India, Pakistan and neighboring places.

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Himalayan Marmot or Tibetan Snow Pigs can be seen in Himalayan regions at elevations of 300 to 4,500 meters. They could also be found in Pakistan and India and startlingly resembles in size with the average matured house cat. It is covered by dark choco brown coat and contrasting yellow patches of fur.

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Yellow Bellied Marmot could be sighted in western US and southwestern Canada like in Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada.

              Marmots had been seen since time immemorial and a claim by French ethnologist Michel Peissel tells of the story of “Gold-digging ants” as shown in the works of Greek historian Herodotus made in the 5th century BC had been actually connected with the Himalayan Marmots where habits of local tribes were to collect gold dust from its burrows.






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Comments (14)

Oh they are adorable. I love them. So cute and roly poly.

Excellent review! I'm orignally from Alberta, Canada, where there is a ski resort called Marmot Basin, located in Jasper National Park, in the Rocky Mountains. Where I live now, on Vancouver Island, there is another species of marmot which is severly endangered, and efforts are being made to protect it from extinction. We love our marmots so much, it was even one of the mascots for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, BC.

cool animals...thanks for this educational post

I have never heard of marmots and I learnt something new from you, thanks.

what adorable little creatures, thank you so much for this article.

Love to hug them. :-D

Beautiful article! I love the way they sit. They remind me of a beaver, perhaps the teeth! I didn't realise they were found in such wide spread areas.

I have heard of them, but cannot recall seeing one alive in the wild. Thanks for this info.

Lol their face looks so cool ;-)

These marmots looks so cute; I have seen Alpine marmots on the Joseph Hoehe point of the Grossglockner Alpine road in Austria. A few pictures are publishe in my article of Grossglockner. Great info.

Excellent article Will beautifully presented! I think they are so cute. I'm sorry I'm out of votes for today but will definately buzz this.

I really enjoy your post on animals. Always very well crafted. Thank you my friend.


Marmots are very interesting to watch. Recently my friend from Washington sent a picture of it. Exactly looked like a squirrel. Nice article Will.

Excellent article