There are 15 species of marmot that can be found all over the world, but each species is unique. The alpine marmot is native to the Alps in Europe. They can be found in France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Slovenia. marmots are small mammals related to squirrels. They have been living in the mountains since the last Ice Age. They are well adapted to living in harsh, cold climates. They have special claws for digging. They burrow into the cold ground and have a thick layer of fur to keep them warm. To avoid the harshest weather, they hibernate.
- They live 400-500 meters above the forest in the mountains.
- The build burrows in the hard, frozen ground.
- Alpine marmots are known for being very friendly.
- They live in small family groups made of a breeding pair and 15-20 of their offspring.
- Members of the family take turns grooming each other and looking out for predators.
- Hibernation starts in October and ends in May.
- Burrows are usually 8-10 feet deep.
- Families hibernate together.
- Their body temperature drops from 97 degree to 5 degrees while in hibernation.
- This temperature drop helps the marmots conserve energy.
- All of the marmots in a den will wake up every 10 days to warm themselves up a little.
- During hibernation, they will take 2-3 breaths in a minute. This is a slow breath rate.
- Adult marmots will cuddle the younger ones to help them control their body temperature.
A marmot’s size changes drastically based on the season. In the early spring, they are small because they have used their stored fats to survive the winter. The average male could weight 3,000 grams and females would weigh 2,900 grams. The marmots use the summer and fall to store as much fat as possible for the winter months. In the fall, the average weight of a male marmot is 4540 grams, and the average female weighs 4355 grams.