Sweet Dreams, Yellow-Bellied Marmot

Nature Detectives

If you were a marmot, you would be going to bed about now and you wouldn’t get up until at least April or maybe May! Your breathing and heartbeat would sloooooow way down and your body temperature would begin to drop. Zzzzzzzzz.

marmotYellow-bellied marmots are Boulder County’s largest ground squirrels. They spend about eight months of every year hibernating in their underground burrows. As they sleep through chilly days and nights, their bodies use up fat the marmots packed on during the summer.

On fair weather days during the other four months, they gorge on grasses and flowers. Marmots need to almost double the amount of fat on their bodies to survive their long hibernation. Marmots are such sleepyheads, they frequently nap between meals. If days get too hot, they may head to their burrow for a deep summer sleep. They better not sleep too long because they need to eat and eat before fall arrives.

Marmot, Wake Up! Get Going On Your Daily Schedule!

  • Sunrise means it is time to get up and start the day.
  • First job is eating.
  • Slowly amble along a flattened path to munch on flowers and grasses.
  • Then climb to a favorite, sunny rock for guard duty plus basking and resting.
  • Digging work gets done before or after a long noontime snooze down in the den.
  • A rain shower prompts a retreat into the den for a nap any time.
  • Eat a late afternoon meal of plants mixed with a few seeds. Delicious!
  • Sunset signals bedtime.
  • Tomorrow will be another busy marmot day.

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