Rocky Mountain Marmot Magic

Rocky Mountain Marmot Magic

What lives in a burrow, has been known since antiquity, is named after breathtaking mountainous landscapes (Marmot Basin, Jasper) and even clothing and equipment? Why the Yellow-bellied marmot, of course!

Hiking in the Canadian Rocky Mountains to see Alpine larches in their glory (typically at 2000 m elevation), one rarely escapes an enchanting Yellow-bellied marmot encounter. These squat, fuzzy rodents (sorry, squirrel lovers, Family Sqiuridae are indeed rodents) tend to live in mountainous regions and the Genus range from Groundhog, Tarbagan (that’s the Mongolian marmot, more on this in a later post), Hoary, Black-capped, Long-tailed, and Himalayan among others.

They are members of the squirrel family and perhaps that’s where our affection comes from. They reside in colonies of about ten to twenty (bless them) and provide food for wolves, coyotes, foxes and, even more blessings, humans (Mongolians hunt marmots).

Most marmots are highly social and use loud whistles to communicate when alarmed (nicknamed “whistle pig”). Impressive and shrill, it is not only the call breaking the serenity of larch strewn alpine valleys; the real magic is their ability to settle in and soak up the same landscape that has folks marching up those mountains time and time again.


For more Lake O’Hara (and larch) magic, see also:

landscape photography wildlife nature
Yellow-bellied Marmot Taking in the View



travel photography nature
Alpine Larches in the Canadian Rockies
nature photography
Yellow-bellied Marmot Warming It’s Yellow Belly

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