Monday, 10 September 2007

Alpine Marmot (Marmota marmota)

Alpine Marmot (subspecies M. m. marmota) in the Dolomites, Italy - July 2004

Local Name (Italy): Marmotta comune ("Common Marmot")
Featured Subspecies: Marmota marmota marmota 
Weight: 2.8-3kg
Length: 42-54cm
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Alpine Marmot is one of the largest rodents in Europe - and indeed the joint largest of the entire squirrel family. It is found in mountain meadows in Southern and Central Europe where they form underground colonies on the slopes and retreat into their tunnels if they detect danger.  My sightings of them were in the Dolomites, but they can be found throughout other mountain ranges such as the Pyranees and, of course the Alps.  They graze on grasses and herbs but may also take grain and invertebrates to supplement their diets.

Related Species:
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Marmota
SUBSPECIES: M. m. marmota, M. m. latirostris

 - Sighting Locations -
ITALY - A fairly common resident of the high mountains.
 - DOLOMITES 2001 TRIP: A seen at various points in the Dolomites

Further Notes:  RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuides, BirdForum Opus, ArkiveIUCN Red List

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