Alpine Marmot

(Marmota marmota)




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 (German) Alpenmurmeltier
Name (Spanish) Marmota alpina
Local names Italian: Marmotta comune
Polish: Swistak
Romansh: Muntanella
Serbo-Croatian: Planinski svizak
Slovensko: Svizec
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Fran├žois Trazzi



Range Alps, Carpathians, Pyrenees, Tatra Mountains
Habitat Mountainous grasslands
Wild population Unknown
Zoo population 28 reported to ISIS

In the Zoo

Alpine Marmot


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.