Marmot Illustration


Typically seen at high elevation in rocky fields, marmots live in colonies of up to 20 individuals. Marmots are one of the largest rodents, growing as large as 11 pounds. Although they prefer high elevations, they also can be found at lower elevations. They feed on grasses and forbs in early summer, and switch to seeds in late summer.

Marmots hibernate for up to 8 months in winter, and typically emerge from hibernation in May. They mate soon after hibernation and give birth to an average of 5 young per year.

Marmots are known for the whistle, of screaming sound they make, and had been dubbed “whistle pigs” by early explorers.


These stout animals live in tunnel systems that can extend 15 to 30 feet below meadows. They burrow after prey like ground squirrels or pocket gophers, but also will eat insects, birds, eggs, grubs and carrion. They are primarily nocturnal, but it is not unusual to see them during daylight hours

Badgers are in the Mustelidae family, as are other weasels. They can weigh up to 40 pounds. They can live as old as 25 years. Badgers mate in summer and give birth in February to 1 to 5 pups. They give off a musk scent when threatened and are known for their ferocity. It has few natural enemies.

Conservation Challenges

The badger population in North American has declined as prairie dog towns have been destroyed. Also, badgers often are exposed to poisons put out for coyotes, resulting in their death. Nevertheless, the North American at this time is considered stable.

Badger Illustration
Weasel Illustration


While the short-tailed weasels’ fur is brown and cream-colored during the summer, they turn almost entirely white in the winter, when they are referred to as ermine.

Weasels are small, weighing no more than 7 ounces. Males are 40 percent larger than females. Weasels typically are found in willow and spruce forests. They feed on voles, mice, shrews rabbits, rats, grasshoppers and frogs.

Uinta Ground Squirrel Illustration

Uinta Ground Squirrel

Very common and plentiful in the area, these animals are colloquially known as “Chiselers,” and are an important food source for many species in the area.

These critters grow to about 7 to 10 ounces. They are commonly found in sagebrush meadows, and can live as high as 11,000 feet. They eat grasses and forbs, as well as carrion. They will feed on their own dead.

Chisslers live in a network of tunnels. Their hibernation is long, from mid-July to March. They mate in spring and give birth to 6 to 8 young every year.

Chipmunk Illustration


The tiniest member of the squirrel family, chipmunks weigh only around 1.2 ounces. Their habitat is typically at lower elevations in sagebrush meadows and forest clearings.

Because of the similar appearance, chipmunks often are mistaken for the golden-mantled ground squirrel. But that animal weighs almost 10 times more than the chipmunk.

The chipmunk diet consists primarily of plant material, including seeds and fruits. Chipmunks breed in spring and give birth to 5 or six young. They hibernate in winter.

Conservation Challenges

Though some of these small mammals are bold around humans, it is important to never feed or touch them. When they become too comfortable around people, they can grow aggressive, which often leads to them being killed. Always view and respect them – and all other animals – from a safe distance.

Chipmunk by Kent Nelson

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