Facts about this animal
With a head-body length of 63 to 73 cm the Alpine marmot is one of the two largest species of the squirrel family, the other being the bobac marmot from Central Asia. Its tail is 13 to 16 cm long. In autumn marmots may weigh 5.5 to 7.5 kgs, in spring about 2.8 to 3.3 kgs.
Alpine marmots occupy alpine meadows.and scree slopes. They spend most of their lives underground in burrows they excavate in well-drained soil. They are deep hibernators and may sleep up to 9 months of the year, living of their fat reserves during that period. They may emerge briefly during spells of mild winter weather.
Alpine Marmots are social animals that live as dense societies near their burrows. One can often see an Alpine Marmot "standing", that is keeping a look-out for possible predators or other dangers emitting a loud shrill or chirp on such an occasion.
Did you know?
That a North American cousin of the Alpine marmot, the woodchuck or ground hog, is used for traditional weather forecast? It is believed that, if on February 2 a groundhog can see its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If it cannot see its shadow, spring is on the way.
|Name (Scientific)||Marmota marmota|
|Name (English)||Alpine Marmot|
|Name (French)||Marmotte des Alpes|
|Name (Spanish)||Marmota alpina|
|Local names||Italian: Marmotta comune
Serbo-Croatian: Planinski svizak
|CITES Status||Not listed|
|CMS Status||Not listed|
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|Range||Alps, Carpathians, Pyrenees, Tatra Mountains|
|Zoo population||28 reported to ISIS|
In the Zoo
How this animal should be transported
For air transport, Container Note 79 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.
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Why do zoos keep this animal
The Alpine marmot, although overhunted in the past, is not a threatened species and may be hunted under licence in most of its range. Zoos therefore keep marmots, representing a prototype of a hibernating species, primarily for educational reasons. Marmots also allow for arranging close encounters with children, which is important to awake a positive attitude towards animals and nature.