Alpine Marmot

Alpine Marmot
Alpine Marmot
PhotoDisc Green/Getty Images

Alpine marmots have distinctive calls. One long whistle warns of an aerial threat such as an eagle, while a series of whistles may warn of an approaching fox.

Like other marmots, they are social creatures found in groups of ten to fifteen.

Advertisement

They are herbivorous and hibernate in underground chambers, taking advantage of each other's body heat to make it through the winter. The chambers, although warmer than the ground surface, are cool, moist environments.

It was once believed that alpine marmot fat rubbed into the skin could relieve arthritis. The fat was also used as a source of food by mountain peoples and some considered it a delicacy.

The spread of agriculture has resulted in this marmot's decline.

Advertisement

Animal Facts

Name: Alpine Marmot (Marmota marmota)

Family: Sciuridae (Squirrels)

Advertisement

Range: European Alps

Habitat: Open montane areas at 4,700 to 9,000 feet (1,433 to 2,743 m)

Diet: Grass, flowers, bulbs, seeds, insects, and birds' eggs; occasionally each others' young

Head and Body Length: 20 to 24 inches (50 to 60 cm)

Tail Length: 5 to 6 inches (13 to 16 cm)

Weight: 5 to 13 pounds (2.5 to 6 kg)

Life Cycle: Gestation 35 to 42 days, two to six young born

Description: Thick, gray to yellow-brown fur; large, round head; white nose; thick whiskers; short, round ears; short, powerful legs; large, blunt toenails; short, hairy tail with black tuft

Conservation Status: Not listed by the IUCN

Advertisement

Featured

Advertisement

Loading...