I had never even heard of a "Marmot" until we moved to Truckee, California in 1995. I first became aware of them, when we moved out to Glenshire, and after passing the Glenshire Store, we saw a street sign that said "Marmot Crossing". Curious.....we pretty much staked out the area, until we saw Marmots running out from the nearby rock pile.

I drove by the Glenshire Store recently to get a picture of the street sign, but unfortunately it was no longer there.

Marmots in the Truckee, CA area - Info. from Truckee Travel Guide

I took this picture, and the rest of the pictures on this page, on 7/23/2011 up at High Camp at Palisades Tahoe in Olympic Valley. Marmots were running all over the tennis courts, and were all over the rocks on the side of the tennis courts.

This particular marmot, ran down from the tennis court, towards where the Paintball area was, grabbed an orange paintball pellet, ran back to the tennis court, and stopped about 2 feet away from me, sat up and promptly ate the paintball pellet while watching me intently. I hope there was nothing toxic!

Marmots in the Truckee, CA area - Info. from Truckee Travel Guide

It then proceeded to run down into an underground area between the two tennis courts and stuck its head out and proceeded to play "Peek-A-Boo" with me. Over and over again, it would hide and then pop it's head out and look around to see if I was still watching him.  He was very curious about me!

Marmots in the Truckee, CA area - Info. from Truckee Travel Guide

They were so cute, I stayed and watched them for some time, while they ran around on the rocks and tennis courts. At one point, I saw two of them both stand on their hind legs and start fighting with each other.

Marmots in the Truckee, CA area - Info. from Truckee Travel Guide

What Exactly are Marmots?

According to Wikipedia, marmots are a genus, Marmota, of squirrels. There are 14 species in this genus.

Marmots are generally large ground squirrels. Those most often referred to as marmots tend to live in mountainous areas such as the Alps, northern Apennines, Eurasian steppes, Carpathians, Tatras, and Pyrenees in Europe and northwestern Asia; the Rocky Mountains, Black Hills, Cascades, and Sierra Nevada in North America; and the Deosai Plateau in Pakistan and Ladakh in India.

Marmots typically live in burrows (often within rockpiles, particularly in the case of the Yellow-bellied marmot), and hibernate there through the winter. Most marmots are highly social, and use loud whistles to communicate with one another, especially when alarmed.

What do Marmots eat?

Marmots in the Truckee, CA area - Info. from Truckee Travel Guide

Marmots mainly eat greens and many types of grasses, berries, lichens, mosses, seeds, roots and flowers.

....and in the case of what appears to be a Yellow-bellied marmot of High Camp, they eat the Orange Paintball pellets from the nearby Paintball area. Ugh....that can't be good for them???

Marmots in Mineral King, an area of Sequoia National Park, in California appear to be addicted to car antifreeze and 20-40 cars a year are damaged!!

Some Fun Facts about Marmots!

  • Likely predators include wolves, coyotes, badgers, bobcats, hawks and owls, but this has not often been observed

  • Marmots hibernate about 8 months out of the year

  • Yellow-bellied marmots are generally small to medium sized.

  • As I found out from watching them run around the tennis court area at High Camp, Squaw Valley, they were very fast!

  • Cannibalism has been documented among the yellow-bellied marmots.

  • Marmots are more active in the mornings and late afternoons. They spend time sunning themselves, grooming themselves, and lots of time in their burrows

  • Yellow-bellied marmots live in colonies, called "harems", or as single or paired individuals.

  • Marmots that live together in colonies typically consist of one adult territorial male, several adult females, and their offspring.

  • Marmots communicate with each other primarily with auditory or visual signals. There are three basic vocalizations: whistles, screams for when they are afraid or excited, and tooth chatters when they are threatened.

  • Mating begins after marmots emerge from hibernation.

  • Gestation lasts around 30 days.

  • The new borns generally remain in their burrow for their first month.

  • Females are the primary caregivers of the young

  • They are also know as a "Rock Chuck"

  • Burrows are usually under rocks, but also may be under tree roots or buildings.

Marmots in the Truckee, CA area - Info. from Truckee Travel Guide

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