Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hoary Marmot

The Hoary Marmot can be found in the mountainous areas of the North American northwest, living in alpine meadows just above the tree line. It is the largest of all the North American ground squirrels.

Marmota caligata
These Marmots get their name from their coloration; "hoary" is a word that means gray or white with age. Hoary Marmots have thick, silvery gray fur on their heads and upper backs, and more brownish coloration on their lower backs.

Hoary Marmots typically live in colonies that are comprised of a dominant male, many females, and a handful of subordinate males. Only the dominant males breed, and mating takes place not long after the Marmots wake up from their winter hibernation.

Hoary Marmots are known for two other behaviors, the first being their whistling. They have a wide variety of screams and whistles that they use to communicate with, and warn for predators (like eagles and coyotes). Hoary Marmots are also known for their wrestling, which often takes place between young Marmots during the summer months.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Northwest North America
Size : Length 20in (51cm), Weight 20lbs (9kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Rodentia
Family : Sciuridae -- Genus : Marmota -- Species : M. caligata

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