Sunday, May 28, 2017

Alpine Marmot

The alpine marmot is the mascot of Crans-Montana in Switzerland, where Óscar lives. He has never seen one tough.

The Alpine Marmot is common in the Swiss Alps between 2500 and 10,000 feet in elevation. They are excellent diggers, able to burrow through soil that even a pickaxe would have difficulty with. The marmot is the largest member of the squirrel family. The body mass is lightest in the spring, weighing about 6-7 pounds. By the fall they weigh between 12-18 pounds as they prepare for hibernation. 

Foto © Verlag Schocher Pontresina
Marmots live in an underground burrow or "hotel". The burrow only hosts one family, but are often enlarged by the next generation. They can create very complex burrows over time. Each alpine marmot will live in a group that consists of several burrows, and which has a dominant breeding pair. One can often see an alpine marmot "standing" while they keep a look-out for potential predators or other dangers. Warnings are given, by emitting a series of loud whistles, after which members of the colony may be seen running for cover. Alpine marmots eat plants such as grasses and herbs, as well as grain, insects, spiders and worms. Marmots spend up to nine months per year in hibernation. The mating season for alpine marmots occurs in the spring, right after their hibernation period comes to a close, which gives their offspring the highest possible chance of surviving the coming winter. Alpine marmots are able to breed once they reach an age of two years and have gestation period of 33-34 days. Each litter consists of between one to seven babies, though this number is usually three. The babies are born blind and will grow dark fur within several days. The weaning period takes a further forty days, during which time the mother will leave the young in the burrow while she searches for food. If kept in captivity, alpine marmots can live up to 15-18 years. - in:

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