There are 14 species of marmot, and the one pictured above is the Himalayan marmot. Those following the A-Z series will know that our ‘H’ post was about the hyacinth macaw, but we couldn’t let this cuddly critter pass without a mention.
The Himalayan marmot lives on mountains at an elevation of up to 5200 metres (17 000 feet). They are excellent diggers and can excavate burrows that are up to 10 metres (33 feet) deep. That’s the equivalent of a human digging a 35 metre (115 foot) hole with their bare hands!
They live in families that all bundle together in one burrow and when young marmots grow up they dig their own burrow as close as possible, forming marmot neighbourhoods. They are extremely social and communicate with whistles and barks. When trying to alert others about danger, Himalayan marmots emit calls that are only 80 milliseconds long, probably so they can warn others without letting the predator hear!
Image from www.flickr.com/photos/dhruvaraj