Marmots - Pierre on the Palouse

Looking at the Palouse River cascade over Palouse falls is a splendid sight. But when furry head pops out of the rocks, it is always a joy. Over many visits to Palouse Falls State Park, I have seen one marmot, though one trip he had a friend over. For merriment's sake, let’s say it is the same marmot and let's call him Pierre of the Palouse.

There are multiple species of marmots in our region, with the yellow-bellied marmot (the group that Pierre belongs to) being the most common. Marmota flaviventris lives from north British Columbia throughout eastern Washington and Oregon and can be found in the Sierra Nevada range. Pierre can expect to live as much as 15 years, assuming that he can stay away from predators such as coyotes, badgers, hawks, and the like, and keep from getting the plague - which has been documented in marmots in California.

Some marmots live solitary, others with a mate, others in colonies. They are generally large furry rodents, but the fat storage is critical for hibernation, which is why you might not see them in the winter. So judge them if you need to, but know that they will be warm and happy - even though they are technically rodents. We don’t mind you, Pierre. You have a great day!

Classification.
Order = Rodentia,
Family = Sciuridae (squirrels)
Genus = Marmota

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