Last Reviewed and Updated on August 1, 2022
There are many different types of marmots, and they can be found in various regions around the world! Check out these interesting facts about marmots and get to know these adorable creatures a little bit more.
1. Marmots are large ground squirrels
Ground squirrels are members of the squirrel family and are a type of rodent. Unlike the “regular” squirrels, ground squirrels live on or in the ground.
2. There are 15 species of marmots
There are 15 different species of marmots. You will find different species around the globe as these animals are native to Asia, Europe, and North America.
3. They are considered the largest true hibernators
Many mammals hibernate during the winter, marmots being one of them. They are the largest animals that are true hibernators. While bears are larger than marmots, bears aren’t true hibernators. Bears don’t sleep the whole time; they enter a hibernating-like state called torpor.
4. Groundhogs are marmots
Groundhogs are, without a doubt, the most well-known species of marmots.
5. Instead of Groundhog Day, Alaska celebrates Marmot Day
While most of the United States and Canada celebrate Groundhog Day on February 2nd, dedicated to just one species of marmots, Alaska celebrates Marmot Day.
6. Marmots whistle or chirp when they are alarmed
Marmots are well known for their whistle-like or chirping sounds when they feel threatened. It’s what earned them the nickname whistle pigs. They can sometimes even sound like a screaming human.
7. They are omnivores
They mostly feed on grasses, flowers, and seeds but will also eat insects and bird eggs.
8. Tarbagan marmots can carry plague
These marmots can mainly be found in China, parts of Russia, and parts of Mongolia.
Epizootic (same as an epidemic in humans) plague occurs in some areas, and the plague can spread from marmots to humans. Manchurian plague in 1910-19011 was one greater plague event that originated from a tarbagan marmot. This one is one of the facts about marmots you should be aware of; if you are traveling to those areas – don’t touch them and avoid eating them.
9. Marmots are diurnal
They are diurnal animals, meaning they are most active during the day. They are especially active during the morning.
10. Not all adult females breed every year
Depending on the species of marmots, the number of females that breed each year does vary, but on average, the females will reproduce every other year. The young are independent in a matter of weeks, so the females have a year off.