Hoary Marmots are Enormous Members of the Squirrel Family

This second video in the Montana series looks at Hoary Marmots, a huge rodent that lives at high elevations on Rocky Mountain slopes. (If you’re a Princess Bride fan, this is truly a Rodent of Unusual Size.)

This was taken on a busy trail at the Logan Pass Visitor Center at Glacier National Park in July 2021.  This adorably huge rodent (they can be 30 inches long!?!) lives at high elevations and spends most of its life sleeping~ in Montana they hibernate from September to May.  Once they emerge from the burrows in spring, they get about the business of fattening up for fall and procreating.  Females have litters of 2-4 young in spring, usually every other year.

In the mornings, they might spend almost half their time sunning on the rocks, and eating wildflowers like Lupine, Indian paintbrush, and Glacier Lilies. One account I read said that they hate mosquitoes, so you’re most likely to see them when the wind is blowing the bugs away.

Like groundhogs, they can make a loud whistle when alarmed, earning them the nickname whistle-pig. They can sit up on their haunches and rest in an upright position.  Apparently they like ecosystems where they can forage for plants in soft soil near rock outcroppings that give them a good lookout location.

Their latin name, Marmota caligata, is for the black “boots” with that dark fur near their feet.