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Marmot

Very brave Yellow-bellied Marmot

This little guy / gal was extraordinarily brave as compared to most of its species. With humans photographing Mountain Goats just feet away, it was quite curious about the goings on. More than once it would pop out right among the people, look around, then go for a walk, seemingly uncaring about all the larger creatures nearby.

A Yellow-bellied Marmot crawls out from under some rocks on Mount Evans.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Yellow-bellied Marmot crawls out from under some rocks on Mount Evans. (© Tony’s Takes)

Yellow-bellied Marmot stands tall

One for Marmot Monday, something I haven’t done in quite a while.

This weekend we went up Mount Evans, our first trip of the season. As always it was breathtaking and the wildlife abundant. These little guys provided a good dose of entertainment as we watched dozens of them in various locations along the slopes above timberline. This particular one was quite curious about my wife and I as we crouched down to snap its picture.

These mountain residents prefer high altitudes and rocky slopes for their homes. Yellow Bellied Marmots can be found across many parts of the western United States and southern Canada. Much of their life is spent in their burrows where they hibernate for as much as eight months out of the year.

A Yellow-bellied Marmot stands tall near the summit of Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Yellow-bellied Marmot stands tall near the summit of Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Marmot pops up and keeps watch

On a visit to Mount Evans, Colorado this past summer, I kept seeing movement in a nearby talus field out of the corner of my eye. Every time I would focus my attention on it, whatever it was, would seemingly disappear. The game was on!

I crouched down, ‘crab walked’ closer, doing my best to stay low and out of site. Then, there it was! This little guy / gal pops up to check on me. Once it realized just how close I was it quickly retreated but not before letting me grab a few pictures.

Sometimes called a ‘rock chuck’, Yellow-bellied Marmots are actually members of the squirrel family. They are found above 6,500 feet in grassland, meadows and talus fields. Here in Colorado you are most likely to spot them above timberline sunning themselves on rocks.

A Yellow-bellied Marmot checks things out near the top of Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Yellow-bellied Marmot checks things out near the top of Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Marmot hanging out on the tundra

These little guys are busily fattening themselves up and stashing food for the coming winter. It has been unseasonably warm across much of Colorado in recent weeks but there are signs things are changing. A cold front moving through this weekend may deliver some snow to the residences of some of these high-altitude creatures.

Sometimes called a ‘rock chuck’, Yellow-bellied Marmots are actually members of the squirrel family. They are found above 6,500 feet in grassland, meadows and talus fields. Here in Colorado you are most likely to spot them above timberline sunning themselves on rocks.

A Yellow-bellied Marmot enjoys a quiet morning on the alpine tundra. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Yellow-bellied Marmot enjoys a quiet morning on the alpine tundra. (© Tony’s Takes)

Marmot Monday brings a posing groundhog

My first pictures of one of these little guys this season. I had a great photo trip Saturday that took me to the top of the 14,130-foot-high Mount Evans. The wildlife was abundant and active, including this guy that almost seemed to be auditioning for a photo shoot. It gave me a number of great poses, including this one with a somewhat coy look on its face. Very cute!

Sometimes called a ‘rock chuck’, Yellow-bellied Marmots are actually members of the squirrel family. They are found above 6,500 feet in grassland, meadows and talus fields. Here in Colorado you are most likely to spot them above timberline sunning themselves on rocks.

A Yellow-bellied Marmot poses for pictures near the top of Mount Evans, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Yellow-bellied Marmot poses for pictures near the top of Mount Evans, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Shadow? What shadow? We’re still buried under the snow!

So Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning which means six more weeks of winter. His cousins here in the Rocky Mountains probably are less than thrilled to hear that given the copious amounts of snow that have fallen this season on their homes.

This Yellow-bellied Marmot was high on top Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park back in July. Needless to say conditions then were far different than what they are enduring up there on Groundhog Day today. Our marmots are indeed cousins to the groundhogs back in Pennsylvania although the environment in which they live is quite different.

A Yellow-bellied Marmot, cousin to groundhogs, poses for its picture. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Yellow-bellied Marmot, cousin to groundhogs, poses for its picture. (© Tony’s Takes)

Curious Marmot sneaks a peek

This little guy was doing his best to hide from me but just couldn’t resist popping up to see who was intruding on his domain. I was ready and snapped a couple of images before it retreated back to its burrow.

Taken back in August, the scene at 12,000 feet where this image was taken is undoubtedly much different now and these guys are prepared to weather the harsh, high altitude winter.

Sometimes called a ‘rock chuck’, Marmots are actually members of the squirrel family. They are found above 6,500 feet in grassland, meadows and talus fields. Here in Colorado you are most likely to spot them above timberline sunning themselves on rocks.

If you like to sleep, you might wish you were a marmot. Yellow bellied marmots spend 80% of their lives in their burrows, 60% of which is spent sleeping. Taken in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

A Yellow-bellied Marmot peeks its head out from shelter on a talus slope in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Yellow-bellied Marmot peeks its head out from shelter on a talus slope in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Lounging in the sun for Marmot Monday

Certainly many of us, including me, would much prefer to be lounging in the sun today rather than being back at work. This little guy had the right idea a couple of weeks ago near the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.

As the sun rose and temperatures similarly climbed, it felt the best course of action was to simply relax and take it all in. I can’t say I have ever seen a Marmot sit quite like this. It was pretty amusing for sure.

A Yellow-bellied Marmot sits back and relaxes in Rocky Mountain National Park.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Yellow-bellied Marmot sits back and relaxes in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Marmot hangs out on high

I came across this little one last month near the top of Mount Evans. The sun hadn’t been up for long and it was enjoying the warmth of a beautiful Colorado day with clear, blue skies.

Yellow-bellied Marmots prefer high altitudes and rocky slopes for their homes and can be found across many parts of the western United States and southern Canada. Much of their life is spent in their burrows.

A Yellow-bellied Marmot enjoys the blue skies and morning sun near the top of Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Yellow-bellied Marmot enjoys the blue skies and morning sun near the top of Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Marmot does not look pleased about Monday

Perhaps reflecting most humans’ mood on the first day of the workweek, this Yellow-bellied Marmot does not look too pleased to have its picture taken.

Two weekends ago I had gone to the top of 14,264-foot-high Mount Evans in the hope of getting pictures of Mountain Goat kids. Unfortunately they chose to hide from me that day but the Marmots were quite plentiful and more than willing to pose for pictures.

Sometimes called a ‘rock chuck’, Marmots are actually members of the squirrel family. They are found above 6,500 feet in grassland, meadows and talus fields. Here in Colorado you are most likely to spot them above timberline sunning themselves on rocks.

A Yellow-bellied Marmot looks a bit grouchy near the top of Mount Evans, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Yellow-bellied Marmot looks a bit grouchy near the top of Mount Evans, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)