General

Marmot

posted: 04/29/14
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Marmot
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Allow me to introduce Myself: I'm a Marmot

Where You'll Most Likely Find Me: Central parts of the United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia

What I Like to Eat: We are herbivores and like to feast on grass and leaves

Betcha Didn't Know This About Me: If you live in North America, you might know us by our other names - woodchuck or groundhog

Who We Are: There are about 15 species of marmots, large ground squirrels. Our relatives are squirrels and prairie dogs. We are diurnal, not nocturnal creatures.

Appearance: Our long, thick fur is coarse and comes in a variety of colors: black, grey, reddish-brown. Our ears are also furry and our legs are short. We measure about two feet tall and our weight usually tops off at 15 pounds.

Dig It: We love to dig using our sharp claws and are quite good at it. We can build our burrows pretty much anywhere including cliffs, rocky slopes and boulder fields.

Our Homes: Our burrows not only serve as our homes, but as safe havens. There are two sides to our burrows - a main entrance and a tunnel for escaping. We aren't the only ones who love them. Skunks and foxes often reside in the burrows we've built as well.

Weight Watchers: Being chubby is a benefit for us. We gain a lot of weight during the summer to prepare for winter hibernation. We live off of our own fat reserves. When the winter weather is not too bitter, we might come out for short periods of time. By February, we typically lose almost half of our body weight.

Whom We Fear: Humans, foxes, owls, coyotes and bobcats. Marmots serve as lookouts for one another and will alert others that danger is lurking by whistling loudly before quickly heading to each one's burrow.

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