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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Did You Know? Incredible Alpine Marmot Facts

Discover interesting alpine marmot facts

The alpine marmot (Marmota marmota) is a large squirrel which has descended from the genus Marmota. They are found in the Alps in northern and central Europe. Alpine marmots disappeared from the Pyrenees more than 15,000 years ago but between 1948 and 1988, around 400 members of this species were reintroduced with success in the French Pyrenees. These animals firmly established themselves in the southern side of the Pyrenees and the Carpathians. Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota) are only found in Europe (especially in the northern and central areas, in the Alps, and the Carpathians) and have adapted to the cold, mountainous habitat. They create burrows for hibernation during the freezing winter months, hibernating for almost nine months of the year. They enter the burrow and barely leave until summer comes again.

Keep reading to find out more interesting facts about alpine marmots. If you liked this article, also check out our articles with amazing facts about muskrat and water vole.

Alpine Marmot Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an alpine marmot?

An alpine marmot (Marmota marmota) is a type of a ground-dwelling squirrel.

What class of animal does an alpine marmot belong to?

Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota) belong to the class of Mammalia and genus of Marmota.

How many alpine marmot are there in the world?

The exact population or number of alpine marmots in the world is not known but it has been estimated that there are more than 100,000 alpine marmots in the world.

Where does an alpine marmot live?

Marmota marmota can be found well above the forest line in central and southern Europe throughout the Alps and in the Carpathian Mountains. They can be found in Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, and Slovakia. They have also been reintroduced to certain regions of Europe like the Pyrenees and the Black Forest in France.

What is an alpine marmot's habitat?

Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota) prefer to live in cold, mountainous habitats like those in the Alps, the Carpathians, and the Pyrenees in central and southern Europe. This rodent can easily live in areas with very little vegetation.

Who do alpine marmot live with?

Alpine marmot families live together in colonies in alpine meadows. These animals live in monogamous family groups with the parental breeding pair and their offspring. The young offspring are playful and friendly and these animals express care by grooming each other. Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota) are peaceful in their colonies, but they become aggressive when a stranger enters their territory.

How long does an alpine marmot live?

Alpine marmots live for around 15 years in the wild. However, it is seen that many alpine marmots live to the age of 18 while in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of these animals starts a few days after they emerge from hibernation in May. Alpine marmots do not reproduce annually and only the dominant female of the group can reproduce if she reaches an ideal weight. The pregnant dominant marmot spends 33 to 34 days as a part of her gestation period. After the gestation period of 33 to 34 days is over, a female marmot gives birth to one to seven young offspring. After birth, the young are hidden by their mother in burrows and the young do not exit the burrow until they are weaned.

What is their conservation status?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has categorized alpine marmots (Marmot marmota) to be of Least Concern.

Alpine Marmot Fun Facts

What do alpine marmot look like?

Alpine marmots share their physical characteristics with rest of the Marmota family. Their bodies are quite big, plump, and sturdy. Its fur coat is usually the color of dark gray, white, black or reddish-brown. Most of their fingers have claws but their thumbs have nails.

Alpine marmot facts are fun to learn.

How cute are they?

Alpine marmots are extremely cute. With their small, fat and furry bodies and their tiny faces with two sharp front teeth, they look like cute dolls.

How do they communicate?

Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota) usually communicate through sound and smell. They search and mark their territory by secreting onto rocks and trees in the area. Their anal glands also emit a foul odor during fights. Alpine marmots communicate to each other with a high-pitched whistle when any predator is threatening their colony.

How big is an alpine marmot?

An alpine marmot (Marmota marmota) is quite big compared to other species of the Marmota family. The average length of their body is usually between the range of 17-29 in (43-73 cm) and they can grow as tall as 7 in (18 cm). The length of their tail lies between the range of 5-8 in (13-20 cm). It is about double the size of a black and rufous elephant shrew.  

How fast can an alpine marmot run?

Alpine marmots can run quickly when they are being chased by predators but are not generally known to be fast runners.

How much does an alpine marmot weigh?

An alpine marmot marmota is one of the heaviest and most fat of the Marmota species. Its weight usually lies between the range of 4.2-17.6 lb (2-8 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Alpine marmots do not have separate, unique names to identify a male or female type of their species. Therefore, they are just referred to as male and female alpine marmots.

What would you call a baby alpine marmot?

A baby marmot is usually referred to as a 'pup'.

What do they eat?

Alpine marmots are omnivorous animals who primarily eat plants like grasses and herbs for food. However, they also search for and eat grains, insects, worms, and spiders if needed.

Are they dangerous?

Alpine marmots are not dangerous rodents. They are not known to cause harm to human beings or other animals but they were once hunted for their fat and also as a food source. Marmot fat supposedly eased rheumatic pain when applied on the skin.

Would they make a good pet?

Alpine marmots are essentially wild animals which are found in mountains. Although they are friendly and are not known to harm human beings by nature, they would not make a good pet because of their constant need to chew a lot and because they live in burrows.

Did you know...

Alpine marmots are often seen to be lying on a flat rock under the sun and is considered to be 'sun bathing'. However, scientists believe they do this in order to lower their body temperature and to get rid of parasites.

Is a marmot a groundhog?

An alpine marmot (Marmot marmota) is not the same as a groundhog even though they are both rodents and species of Marmot. A groundhog is a type of the Marmot species found in North America. They have coarse reddish-brown and gray fur and their legs are darker or black in color.

How active are they?

Alpine marmots are diurnal rodents. This means that the animals of this species are more active during the day and completely inactive during the night. Alpine marmot hibernation is also a very well known feature of this species. Around October, they enter a burrow and close the entrance of the burrow with grass and hay. During hibernation, their temperature drops a lot so parents and adults cuddle with younger alpine marmots to regulate their temperature from falling too low. They wake up at least once every 10 days in their burrows to help them bring their temperature up to a normal range again and stops them from freezing during the winter.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including Czechoslovakian wolfdog or Norfolk terrier.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Alpine marmot coloring pages.

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