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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Marmot: 21 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Marmot facts like they are herbivorous in nature, are interesting.

Marmots, also known as marmota, are ground squirrels who prefer to live in their burrows during winter hibernation (September-May). At other times, these diurnal creatures love to scurry around on open ground in grasslands and on mountains. They forage on a herbivorous diet of grass, grains, flowers and fruit. They may also climb trees on some occasions.

Marmots are also the weightiest among squirrels, with a body weight ranging from 4.4-24.2 lb (2-11 kg). They have short but strong legs that are ideal for digging burrows and thick fur that come in various shades (mostly gray, some brown, also red-yellow). The yellow-bellied marmot is perhaps the most commonly seen sub species in North America. In summer, each yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris) can occupy a home range of up to 6 acres (2.5 territories).

For more relatable content, check out these porcupine facts and echidna facts for kids.

Marmot Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a marmot?

A marmot  is a ground squirrel. They are four-legged rodents.

What class of animal does a marmot belong to?

Marmots belong to the class of Mammalia.

How many marmots are there in the world?

The exact number of marmots is unknown. But among the marmota species, there are four sub species that are extinct, and 15 sub species not extinct. Of these, at least 14 sub species are found in plenty in North America, Europe and Asia.

Where does a marmot live?

Marmots typically live on grass plains and mountains. They can be found on a farm in several regions of North America (including United States).

Also, here are two interesting hoary marmot facts. They are silvery gray in color, with brown highlights at the bottom, and a white patch between their eyes. They are commonly found on mountain slopes and alpine meadows, in Alaska, Montana and Idaho in the U.S.

What is a marmot's habitat?

Marmots are ground squirrels, foraging on a herbivorous diet of grass, leaves, flowers, grains, legumes and some fruit. Marmots also prefer to live in the open, and are found in plenty in grasslands, meadows, savannas and shrublands, in North America, Europe and Asia. Some sub species are also found on mountains.

Also, here are two interesting marmot animal facts. This Marmot marmota species are famous for digging burrows, and hibernate for a significant part of the year (September-May). They also use different burrows in and out of hibernation.

For instance, normal burrows are barely 39.4 in (1 m) deep into the ground. On the other hand, their hibernation burrows can be up to 23 ft deep (7 m). Yes, the otherwise friendly marmot animal is well and truly burrowed away from the rest of the world during its winter hibernation, so it can enjoy, a long, undisturbed sleep!

Who do marmots live with?

Despite their love for burrows, marmots are friendly yet socially flexible creatures. They can live happily on their own (in and out of burrows), or in harmony with other marmots. When they live in a pack together, it typically includes one male, several females, and their young ones. In fact, the yellow-bellied marmot is known to practice a “harem-polygynous” social structure. In this system, one male lives and mates with multiple females. The male marmot is also responsible for defending females and their young ones from other male marmots and predators.

How long does a marmot live?

This small marmot animal has a relatively long life span and go on to live for 15 – 18 years, much longer than many other rodent animals.

How do they reproduce?

Marmots achieve sexual maturity when they are around two years old. But females tend to begin mating only when they are almost three years old. Both males and females seek a mate when they come out of hibernation. For this, they call out for mates through short but melodious whistles. Male marmots can also be seen “wooing” his female mates, bring them food and dried flowers!

A yellow-bellied marmot is famous for its “harem” like structure. In this, one male mates with several females in his pack, and live together with the females and their young ones when they are not in hibernation.

Female marmots have a gestation period of about 1 month. The young ones are called pups or juveniles. Male pups stay with the mother until they are a year old (for protection from predators). After this, male yearlings tend to venture out on their own while female pups continue staying with the mother until they are two years old. Female pups venture out when they achieve sexual maturity and are ready to find a mate of their own.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of marmot depending on the species varies from Least Concern to Critically Endangered.

Marmot Fun Facts

What do marmots look like?

Marmots are short but cute creatures, with thick fur, a black nose, and curious eyes. They are also the heaviest among ground squirrels, with a body weight that can go up to 24.2 lb (11 kg). Their body is also best suited for digging and foraging. They have short but strong legs, and powerful teeth that can cut through most vegetation. The color of the fur can differ across sub species, ranging between shades of gray and brown. The yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris) is especially common in various parts of North America.

The yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris) is common in various parts of Canada and the U.S.

How do they communicate?

A marmot is a social animal, and loves to vocally communicate with other squirrels in the wild through a range of whistle-like sounds. They whistle to seek out a mate. They also whistle when they sense a predator in close range. Finally, they have a strong nose and can smell out fellow marmots and predators using this heightened sense of smell.

How big is a marmot?

For such a small animal, it can have a significant body weight 4.4–24.2 lb (2-11 kg). For instance, marmots can be 20 times the size of dormouse. The largest in this species can be the size of a small house cat.

How fast can a marmot run?

One of the yellow-bellied marmot facts is that they can scurry along at a surprisingly rapid pace, at 3mph (4.8 kph).

How much does a marmot weigh?

Marmots are the weightiest of ground squirrels. Their body weight can range from 4.4 lb (2 kg) when they are young, going up to 24.2 lb (11 kg) in larger species just before hibernation.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Both males and females are simply called, marmots. But they exhibit mild dimorphism as male marmota are slightly heavier than females.

What would you call a baby marmot?

Baby marmots can be referred to by different names, including pups, juveniles (under 2 years old) and yearlings (one year old).

What do they eat?

These weighty ground squirrels happily munch on a herbivorous diet of grass, leaves, flowers, grains, legumes, and some fruit.

Are they dangerous?

Marmots are not particularly dangerous when they are left on their own. They are friendly creatures from a distance, but they are known to bite if you intrude into their personal space. Marmots are also “rodents” for a reason, with the ability to carry contagious diseases. This makes them dangerous, especially during a pandemic.

Would they make a good pet?

Marmots do not make good pets as they tend to bite strangers in self defense. They also love to chew with their strong teeth and can be destructive when kept in a house. It is also illegal to own a marmot as a pet in the United States, as they can be carriers of contagious disease.

Did you know...

Marmots get their name as they typically live in open spaces and on in mountains. In fact, the word “marmot” in Romansch literally means “mountain mouse”!

The marmot's sounds

Marmots are both social and vocal creatures who love to communicate with other squirrels, through a range of whistle-like sounds. They use a short whistle to call out to fellow marmots or when they want to mate. They also send a shrill, longer whistle, much like a scream, when they are frightened or want to raise an alarm.

Marmots and humans

Marmots are not dangerous creatures by themselves. But they have strong teeth and do not hesitate to use them on perceived “strangers”! They can also be carriers of several contagious disease (like plague).

Marmots are hunted for food in few parts of North America (like Alaska). But most people tend to avoid eating these rodents, due to their association with the plague. In fact, Russia has strict laws against marmot hunting due to this very reason.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Chinese hamsters facts and muskrat facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable marmot coloring pages.

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