Ya Yellow Livered Schweinhunt

Had enough of the birds yet?  I figured so!  Well, you are in luck.  Thanks to having all the Yellowstone shots processed, I have plenty of non-bird topics to throw at you.  I’ll still need to toss in our feathered friends from time to time, but today I can bring you this ….

Yellow-Bellied Marmot shot in Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

Take your best guess… A Beaver? a Hedgehog? maybe a gym rat Squirrel on steroids?  A Squirrel is actually pretty close seeing as how this creature is a member of that family.  It is actually a member of the Marmota genus commonly referred to as the Yellow-Bellied Marmot.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot shot in Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

hit the jump to read more about our Marmot encounters!

This little girl … err  or guy (seeing as how I can’t accurately tell the sexes apart without some more telling visuals but guessing it is a female from the shots I do have) .. appeared while we were hiking up to see a waterfall with the Makutas.  Unfortunately, it has been awhile (these shots were taken back in May 2013) so I can’t provide the actual name of the Waterfall – Linda will likely know and will hopefully update all of us in the comments.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot shot in Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

I find Marmots I encounter to be extremely social and for the most part ambivalent to human presence. At first they care, then they don’t care, then they appear willing to eat from your hands only to get concerned and seeking out escape routes minutes later.  This particular one pretty much went about her business with little concern beyond an occasional glance to make sure we remained behind the barrier.  The tasty morsels on the nearby bush were getting the majority of the attention.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot shot in Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

To be honest, I’ve really only seen the Yellow-Bellied variety out on our Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone trips.  Other varieties may have differing traits.  They are quite cute in a groundhog sorta way.  There seems to be some form of local hatred towards them in the same vein as island centric people absolutely despising Gulls.  Guessing they can be quite the nuisance once they decide to establish residency near your property.  That doesn’t preclude visitors to the area such as ourselves from enjoying their presence.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot shot in Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

According to our friends over at Wikipedia, the Yellow-Bellied prefers to live in burrows formed within rocks.  They do practice hibernation during the Winter months and fall into the vegetarian category for food preferences relying on greens, berries, roots etc. for sustenance.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot shot in Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

There are 15 different species of the Marmota genus which includes Groundhogs.  Since 2010 Alaska has converted Groundhog Day (Feb 2nd) to Marmot Day in recognition of the large Marmot population in that state.  All the Marmots in New York City have lobbied against this craziness happening in the Big Apple due to knowing that it would put them at greater risk of being KILLED by their idiot mayor (link here). R.I.P. Charlotte.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot shot in Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

One other tidbit about Squirrels I was not aware of is they cannot digest cellulose and instead have to rely on foods rich in proteins, carbs and fats.  This puts them in a bind during the early Spring months due to the nuts starting their sprout cycle.  As an alternative, they focus more on the buds of trees which aligns perfectly with the early shots in this post.

That’s all I have for you on the Marmot front.  Hope you enjoyed these cute furry creatures regardless of what the locals think of them (including Yosemite Sam!)

2 thoughts on “Ya Yellow Livered Schweinhunt”

  1. Cute!! Almost as cute as cats. Did you mean to write “One other tidbit about Marmots” rather than “One other tidbit about Squirrels”?

    I saw Marmots when I was up in the Rocky Mountains years ago–cute there, too. Here is the only thing I know about them: “If a Marmot’s eyes turn red, leave ’em trapped.” I can guarantee you that not one in 100 million people in the US would recognize that quote. And it’s a great one. Oh, and I just remembered there was a Marmot in a breakout role in “The Big Lebowski”.

    I had seen some headline about whether de Blasio killed the Groundhog, but I never saw any more about it, so it was fun to read the link you provided.

    Nice to see a post that does not contain any birds adding +1’s to your bird life list. Very nice.



  2. Actually I did mean to say squirrels since the tidbit applied to all squirrel species (the reference I had did not call out marmots as not having that, so I assume at this point that it applies equally down the lineage.
    You can count me in the 99,999,999, when it comes to that quote – I couldn’t even find it on Google. I am probably one of the few people that have not made it all the way through the Big Lebowski Not sure why seeing as many people consider it their anthem – contrasting that, I’ve made it through Out Cold like 40 times (including today!). That liberal killed that groundhog – biased media tried to bury it like the cold dead remains of the animal but I’ll never let it be forgotten.

    Do I suspect a tinge of devious intent on that last comment?


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