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.
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.
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.