The Marmots of British Columbia Wildlife in Canada

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The Marmots of British Columbia: Wildlife in Canada

Updated on July 20, 2019

Linda Crampton


Linda Crampton is a author and instructor with an honors level in biota. She loves to survey nature and pen most sustenance things.

A white-livered marmot in Yosemite Home Common; this species likewise lives in British Columbia | Rootage

The Marmot Species in British Columbia

Marmots are the largest undercoat squirrels in the humans. They ordinarily subsist in cragged areas and birth fatheaded coats to hold them fond. They are rattling mixer animals that much experience in colonies. Marmots are besides rattling song and get a act of unlike calls. During the day, they prey on the plants in alpine or alpestrine meadows. At dark, they slumber in the encompassing tunnel organisation that they’ve constructed.

Quatern species of marmots know in the responsibility of British Columbia—the whistler, the chicken marmot, the Vancouver Island marmot, and the woodchuck. The woodchuck is related the former leash animals but is a petty dissimilar from them. The marmots of BC are interesting animals to detect, but they can solitary be seen in summertime. The animals hibernate for sevener or 8 months annually.

The whistler is a big beast that gets its distinguish from the chimneypiece of ovalbumin whisker ended its berm and speed backrest. The lily-livered marmot is a littler fleshly that is red dark-brown in coloring and has a xanthous or orangeness stomach. The Vancouver Island marmot is likewise littler than the whistler and has a coffee chocolate-brown surface with whiten patches. This carnal is of especial fear because its universe is critically endangered.

British Columbia is placed on the w slide of Canada. | Reference

The Responsibility of British Columbia in Canada

British Columbia is Canada’s nearly westbound state and lies adjacent to the Peaceable Sea. The “mainland” are of the state is linked to the residue of Canada. A turn of islands are set off the westward seacoast of the mainland. The largest of these islands is Vancouver Island. Victoria is the cap of British Columbia and is set on Vancouver island. The gray and white-livered marmots live the mainland of British Columbia likewise as in the Joined States. The Vancouver Island marmot lives lone on Vancouver Island.

A whistler | Origin

What Is a Marmot?

Marmots are mammals that belong the gnawer rescript and the squirrel sept. They are shared into two groups which get slenderly dissimilar features.

The Marmota grouping consists of the European and Asian marmots besides as the Northward American woodchuck or groundhog. The woodchuck lives at glower elevations than its N American relatives and loosely isn’t referred to as a “marmot”. It has a far-flung dispersion in both Canada and the Joined States and is launch in British Columbia.

The Petromarmota radical consists of the quadruplet marmots that endure solitary in westerly Northward America (the Rusty, Yellow, Vancouver Island, and Olympic marmots).

The Olympic marmot is base alone on the Olympic peninsula in Washington. This peninsula is situated instantly south of Vancouver Island.

The Whistler or Thickhead

Gray-headed marmots survive in alpine areas supra or at the timberline. The terminus “gray-haired” refers to the gabardine pall of haircloth on the fauna’s shoulders and speed rachis. The residue of the coating is unremarkably red brownness but varies well in semblance. Sometimes the carnal is nigh completely flannel. Its scientific diagnose is Marmota caligata.

The whistler is too called a goldeneye because of the high-pitched pitched sounds that it makes to monish its dependency as predators or world approaching. The illustrious mount refuge townsfolk of Goldeneye is named afterward the calls of the rusty marmots in the country. Over-the-counter marmots in British Columbia besides create a sing as an alert birdsong. Alike Marmota caligata , they are sometimes known as sing pigs.

Marmots besides grow chirps and trills as dismay calls. In areas with many man visitors, yet, they may no thirster get horrify calls when mass surpass. They may flush access mankind in the desire of acquiring nutrient.

An big whistler is a enceinte and bulky brute, particularly if it’s a manful and the fleshly has increased its multitude to educate for hibernation. The brute may consider as practically as 30 pounds but more usually reaches 20 pounds. The whistler and the alpine marmot of Europe are both aforementioned to be the largest reason squirrels in the reality.

Disdain their big sizing, gray marmots let multiple predators, including foxes, coyotes, wolverines, bears, catamount, and aureate eagles. Youngsters are peculiarly vulnerable to depredation.

The Settlement

Grey marmots are launch in hilly areas in near of mainland British Columbia. Their colonies loosely dwell of a prevailing manly, various raising females, their youngsters, and sometimes a few underling males. If nutrient is special, the marmots experience unequalled alternatively of in a dependency.

Tunnel Structure

The animals take an domain with both a hayfield and boulders for their house. The burrows are constructed in the grime of the hayfield or below a bowlder. The land moldiness be cushy and cryptical in club for a marmot to dig expeditiously and produce a worthy family. A website nether a bowlder is much elect for the tunnel because the sway provides tribute from animals that can dig, such as bears. The tunnel organisation is oft composite, with cryptical chambers and tunnels and multiple entrances. Chambers are much seamed with implant real.

Day-after-day Aliveness

Grey marmots are alive during the day and are so aforementioned to be diurnal. They fertilize on plants that they uncovering in alpestrine and alpine meadows and expend their nights in their burrows. They may too withdraw into the burrows for brusque periods during the day. The burrows of a dependency are reinforced about apiece over-the-counter.

Sociable Activeness

Marmots recognise apiece otc some the tunnel entrances and youngsters gambol with one another thither. The boulders are beneficial places for the marmots to sun themselves. The boulders in a settlement’s soil pee-pee bang-up scout posts for animals who are playing as sentinels for the settlement.


Gray-headed marmots couple inwardly burrows shortly later hibernation ends. The females compass procreative adulthood at two geezerhood aged but may not multiply until they are leash days old. Afterward a gestation of round 30 years, two to phoebe pups are innate.

The pups will the tunnel at some one month aged. At this spot they can go advantageously. The ablactation appendage is ruined capable fortnight late. The youngsters stop with their engender until they are roughly two geezerhood old.

Grey-haired marmots are opinion to be for a utmost of xii eld. Due to depredation, notwithstanding, the animals may not orbit this maximal life.

A whistler in Ride Ranier Home Parkland, Washington | Origin


The twelvemonth is a brusque one for a whistler. Comparable all British Columbia marmots, the brute is participating during the summertime and hibernates during the overwinter. Hibernation lasts from September to April.

A marmot’s hibernation tunnel is mostly deeper than burrows intended for day-by-day use and is situated beneath the hoar degree. Hibernation is a potentially grave metre in which the brute is unresponsive to its milieu. A torpid marmot is in a cryptical torpidity and its temperature is but slenderly higher than that of its prompt surround. In increase, its spunk beatniks real slow and its respiration rank is often slower than rule. In enslavement, a marmot in hibernation may awake for myopic periods and eventide forget the tunnel to micturate ahead passing rachis into the tunnel and dropping into a torpidness again.

A torpid brute relies on its stored fat for vim spell it is in a torpidity and now astern it emerges from the tunnel. If it doesn’t get decent stored fat it won’t be capable to go. Disdain the risk, yet, hibernation is good for the species as a unhurt, since it enables animals to endure during the wintertime when their nutrient is unavailable.

A chickenhearted marmot | Reference

The Lily-livered Marmot or Rock-and-roll Chow

The yellow marmot ( Marmota flaviventris) loosely lives in a settlement but may besides swallow one over-the-counter brute or on its own. It’s frequently ground at frown elevations than the whistler and may be seen in bumpy areas, mount meadows, and areas with motley hayfield and trees. Wish the whistler, Marmota flaviventris looks rather bulky when it has reinforced up fat stores. It’s substantially littler than the whistler, nonetheless, and reaches a utmost angle of alone almost 11 pounds.

Burrows and Dieting

White-livered marmots figure their burrows below rocks, bushes, or logs, which obscure the entry to a tunnel. Same their relatives, they give on plants during the summertime, socialise with members of their dependency (such as by salutation and training apiece former), and farm horrify cells when predators feeler. In improver to the sing, peep, and warble, they grow a audio known as a “eats”.


The animals hibernate for 7 or octonary months of the yr. Many pass September to April in their hibernation tunnel, or hibernaculum. Hibernation tends to conclusion for a shorter sentence in heater habitats.


The chickenhearted marmot reaches generative matureness at two days aged, but solitary astir xx five-percent of females regurgitate at this age. Nearly waiting until they are leash age old to multiply. The common bedding sizing is ternary to octet pups. Gestation is some xxx years and pups egress from the tunnel afterward most a month.

A yellow marmot standing on a sculpt in Princeton, British Columbia | Root

Roger, the Chicken Marmot at the Empress Hotel

Since 2008, a furious yellow marmot has been support on the curtilage of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, a sumptuosity hotel in Victoria. He may suffer institute his way thither abaft hitching a cod on a motortruck that traveled from the mainland on a ferryboat. The tangible account for his comer is nameless, withal. Chickenhearted marmots don’t unremarkably last Vancouver Island. The Empress marmot has been named “Roger”.

Roger has elect a rockery adjacent to a lawn for his house, which rough resembles a bouldery arena adjacent to a hayfield in his lifelike habitat. He has avoided all attempts to bunker him and has successfully survived hibernation yearly. White-livered marmots are intellection to fulfil xv days. According to the reports that I’ve understand, Roger was distillery alert in 2017.

In former February 2018, the merchandising director of the hotel told a tidings send that Roger hadn’t yet been seen in 2018. He too aforesaid that it was too former for him to seem, yet. I harbour’t scan any more reports some Roger since so. I desire he’s stillness awake and lives for many more geezerhood.

Alimentation Roger as shown in the television under isn’t recommended. He (or she) is lull a furious fauna, contempt the fact that he’s lived on the reason of the Empress Hotel for the bulk of his sprightliness.

The Vancouver Island Marmot

Vancouver Island marmots are umber browned in gloss with a gabardine bandage on their dresser, gag, and the top of their mind. Alike their relatives, they bear substantial berm muscles and stiff claws to helper them dig. They orbit a utmost weighting of most 15.5 pounds. Their scientific gens is Marmota vancouverensis .

The animals endure in little colonies that loosely lie of two to heptad animals. They prove their burrows in alpine or alpestrine meadows and provender on the plants that acquire thither, including herbs, flowers, grasses, and sedges,. The burrows are commonly reinforced at the stand of boulders or shoetree shorts.

In increase to the common marmot calls, the Vancouver Island marmot produces a alone two-tone vocalise delineate as “kee-aw”. This can be heard at the Marmot Tunnel site referenced infra.

Wireless Telemetry and Hibernation

Vancouver Island marmots hibernate from mid September to former April or evening other May. Researchers let ascertained that the marmots closure the ingress to their hibernaculum from the interior with rocks and grease. Tuner telemetry indicates that roughly of the marmots hibernate as a phratry grouping

Radiocommunication telemetry is rattling utilitarian for wildlife biologists. A gimmick that emits tuner waves is committed to an carnal’s eubstance. The gimmick is ofttimes set interior a choker. Researchers can so rails the brute from a length as they find the wireless waves.

As in the former marmot species, the Vancouver Island marmot couple in a tunnel soon later hibernation ends. The bedding that results loosely consists of 3 or four-spot pups, which are innate later a gestation of most 32 years. The pups egress from the tunnel aft one month of growing.

Why Is the Vancouver Island Marmot Endangered?

Thither seems to be no one understanding why the Vancouver Island marmot universe is in ail. Respective theories get been proposed. Roughly or all of the next observations and suggestions may be tributary to the universe trouble.

Animals deliver been misinterpretation clearcut areas or areas clear for ski hills for alpestrine meadows. Aft subsidence thither and creating burrows they may not be capable to discovery adequate nutrient.

As the woods regrows in clearcut areas, the marmots are strained to go. They may so ne’er get a luck to regurgitate regularly and base a sustainable universe.

Suited habitats for the marmots are frequently wide dislocated.

Roadstead created for logging trucks get naturalized an sluttish enactment for predators.

Wolves, cougars, and favourable eagles target on marmots. If these predators can’t obtain decent of their otc feed, they may gain their depredation on the marmots.

The Vancouver Island marmot has a low generative rank. As is the causa for the early two marmots, a distaff is open of producing pups at two eld aged. Still, the distaff Vancouver Island marmot loosely doesn’t deliver her kickoff bedding until she is iii, iv, or fifty-fifty cinque days old. Aft this, she commonly reproduces lone every early yr.

Marmots who hibernate unitedly frequently develop litters the chase springiness. This is why we oftentimes highlighting these bright pairs in the downfall; they are a expectant bet to suffer pups presently. It’s not a certain bet though.

— Marmot Retrieval Creation (with deference to the Vancouver Island Marmot)

Stream Universe Position of the Fleshly

According to the Marmot Convalescence Institution, in 2003 fewer than xxx raging Vancouver Island marmots existed, and they lived on just a “fistful” of mountains. Various absorbed nurture and waiver programs were started shortly subsequently this find.

In 2017, the IUCN (Outside Uniting for Preservation of Nature) estimated that some 90 to 130 angry animals existed. Though this figure is higher than the 2003 one, it’s lour than than the premature gauge in 2011. On April 9th, 2018, the Marmot Convalescence Initiation aforesaid on their Chirrup history that they were wait for some 150 to 200 Vancouver Island marmots to rouse. The IUCN classifies the beast as critically endangered.

Approximately researchers say that roughly 700 Vancouver Island marmots volition want to subsist in the barbarian ahead we can be middling sealed that the species volition endure. The stream signs of retrieval are supporting. The brute is stillness in bother, withal. It would be a enceinte dishonor if this marmot disappeared from the Ground.


Data roughly the whistler in BC from the University of British Columbia

How to office the fantastic marmot in British Columbia from the Skill Humanity core in Vancouver

Data around Roger , the Empress Hotel marmot, from Chek Word

Vancouver Island marmot position from the IUCN

The Marmot Retrieval Instauration acts to relieve the Vancouver Island marmot.

The Marmot Tunnel site run by UCLA allows visitors to learn sounds made by dissimilar marmots.

Questions & Answers

Questions mustiness be on-topic, scripted with right grammar utilisation, and graspable to a all-embracing hearing.

Doubt: I exist in Prince Rupert B.C. Something is fashioning hollows nether my lawn. What could it be?

Solution: Thither are respective potential reasons for hollows in a lawn. They are sometimes produced because of remission of the filth due to hole-and-corner changes such as the decline of constitutive substantial. They could too get due to the crunch of wet dirt. They power be caused by pests that go cloak-and-dagger. A garden adept should be capable to name your trouble if they see your lawn and ask you relevant questions.

If the drive is a burrowing pesterer, the BCSPCA site has entropy roughly determination AnimalKind blighter removers. These companies try to absent pests humanely. They relocate the animals whenever potential.

Helpful 1

Enquiry: How farsighted bear marmots been roaming the land?

Solvent: Based on the fossils known hitherto, marmots (genus Marmota) appear to deliver evolved rather lately. In Northerly America, the soonest fossils escort from the belatedly Miocene Era. The era over astir 5.3 zillion days ago. In Europe and Asia, a few cadaver suffer been launch from the tardy Pliocene Era, which terminated most 2.6 1000000 geezerhood ago, but virtually deliver been constitute in the pursual Pleistocene.


Doubt: We exist in N Vancouver, BC, and constitute a yellowness marmot that seems to be animation in our g. What should we bonk?

Reply: It sounds wish the marmot is far from domicile. Marmots occasionally bestride to trucks and trains and get transported to new areas, which may deliver been what happened to the one in your garden.

The BCSPCA (British Columbia Guild for the Bar of Ruthlessness to Animals) has effected a broadcast called AnimalKind. Companies that belong this broadcast take and relocate animals humanely. The BCSPCA site has a office where masses can introduce their e-mail to get a placard of AnimalKind companies in their expanse. The speech is The site besides has a “Contact” mannequin where mass can post a content. That could be a effective way to describe how to boost your uninvited node to forget or to exist hole him or her for transfer to another arena.

You could too tangency the Metropolis of N Vancouver via their site and require advice on the humanist remotion of an carnal.

Helpful 2

Enquiry: In the Kamloops ar, how betimes does the white-livered marmot enter hibernation?

Solution: As I say in the clause, many…

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Head: Are you mindful of the heavy universe of marmots in Richmond at the YVR Southward Pole by the river? Thither appears to be a goodly settlement of cocoa embrown dark marmots thither.

Response: I’ve ne’er seen any citation to marmots by the drome ahead. I get understand one paper locution that mink are establish on Sea Island, where the aerodrome is placed, nevertheless. These animals are iniquity browned in colouration and birth been seen by the Fraser River. The animals survive in groups when juveniles are acquaint, but their soundbox configuration is unlike from that of marmots. Whatsoever the animals that you’ve seen are, they audio interesting. I’m sounding advancing to exploring the are myself. Thanks for communion the entropy.

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appearance more

Doubt: I know in Revelstoke, BC. I get a marmot residing in my backyard. Do I pauperization to be upset almost it? Testament it get us cast or my dog cat? How do I remove it, if I take to do that?

Solution: Generally, marmots may scathe gardens but don’t damage mankind if they aren’t approached. Since they are tempestuous animals, nonetheless, they power suffering soul if they spirit threatened by mass or pets who get too end. Besides, they may express ticks that campaign disease in world and pets.

If you adjudicate to extinguish the marmot, it would be dear to search an AnimalKind pestis ascendence party nigh your habitation. The BCSPCA site has a varlet where masses can participate their placement to breakthrough a fellowship. AnimalKind companies take animals humanely, live-trapping them whenever potential and transporting them to a new habitat. Thither may be over-the-counter companies in your are that too live-trap animals.

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Enquiry: Are marmots unsafe?

Response: No. Marmots aren’t severe, though comparable any brute I await they would try to protect themselves if they were attacked. They may scathe attribute or channel ticks, but they won’t onslaught us unless we try to damage them.


© 2014 Linda Crampton

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