Yellow-Bellied Marmots at the Zoo

Norman (Male)– Brought to zoo by California Fish and Game in 2015. Norman spends the majority of his life in his burrow; lucky guests will catch a glimpse of him late Spring and Summer time. He currently lives in a mixed-species exhibit with Crows and a Turkey Vulture.

Description

(Marmota Flaviventris)  

Large rodents most common to the Western U.S. and Southern Canada. Their populations are large and not threatened. They normally live in small colonies of 10-20 individuals; They will generally use/dig multiple burrows for hibernation and for safety. These burrows can end up being quite an intricate network underground. They can be highly social animals and will vocalize in a variety of ways to warn the colony about possible threats.

What do they eat?

They are herbivores and will eat greens/grasses, legumes, berries, roots, even insects and bird eggs on occasion.

How long do they live?

Most live for 10-15 years in the wild.

How many can be born at a time?

The average litter size is 3-5 pups.

Where are they found? 

Their range includes The Rockies, Sierra Nevada, Southwestern Canada and even parts of California.

Interesting facts:
  • They have been known to chew through radiator lines in cars to get at the glycol in the antifreeze,  which is toxic if ingested.
  • They are sometimes called “Whistle Pigs” because of the sounds they make when vocalizing.