During my recent photo hike to the confluence of the Fraser and Coquihalla rivers near Hope, British Columbia I stumbled across a nicely domesticated group of Yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventris) living at the local golf and country club.
Marmots are large ground squirrels with fifteen species living in Asia, Europe and North America. They are (mostly) herbivores that hibernate for eight months out of the year during which they lose nearly 75% of their body mass.
For the four months of the year that they are awake and active they, no surprise, spend most of their day-to-day fattening up for the coming fall, winter and spring. They wake up weighing 2 kg and can reach a body mass of 8 kg by the time they head off to hibernate.
They live in burrows underneath large trees which provide perfect protection year-round.
Suddenly I don’t feel so guilty binging on Netflix during the winter months.