Marguerite McClay of Los Alamos captured a Yellow Bellied Marmot on her Critter Cam that was strolling around her yard. PEEC reports that this is the first sighting of the animal in the Jemez region in something like 50 years. The species lives in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains, but had not been in the Jemez Mountains in many years. Another marmot was spotted in the Valle Caldera in recent weeks. Photo by Marguerite McClay
Marmots are large squirrels in the genus Marmota, of which there are 15 species. Some species live in mountainous areas, such as the Alps, northern Apennines, Carpathians, Tatras and Pyrenees in Europe and northwestern Asia; the Rocky Mountains, Black Hills, Cascades, Pacific Ranges, and Sierra Nevada in North America; and the Deosai Plateau in Pakistan and Ladakh in India.
Other species prefer rough grassland and can be found widely across North America and the Eurasian steppes. The similarly sized, but more social, prairie dog is not classified in the genus Marmota but in the related genus Cynomys.
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.
Marmots mainly eat greens and many types of grasses, berries, lichens, mosses, roots, and flowers.