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Marmota caligata cascandensis
Hoary Marmots is the largest member of the squirrel family. Adults range from 62 to 82 cm (24 to 32 in) in total length, including a 17 to 25 cm (6.7 to 9.8 in) tail. They are starting to put on weight now - by fall adults will weigh around 22 lbs. and exceptional ones as much as 30 lbs. I was lucky enough to capture these guys play fighting, which is one of their favorite past times. Notice their large teeth and claws. Pic 3 shows another one close by foraging and collecting grass to take back to the den for storage.
Spotted at Mount Rainier National Park in the Alta Vista area above Paradise. At or near 7000 ft. in a very rocky ravine with some snow pack still left. Pic 5 shows them going into one of their den entrances under the snow. Pic 6 shows one of their other den entrances. The marmots hibernate seven to eight months a year in burrows they excavate in the soil, often among or under boulders. Each colony typically maintain a single hibernaculum and a number of smaller burrows, used for sleeping and refuge from predators. The refuge burrows are the simplest and most numerous type, consisting of a single bolt hole 1 to 2 metres (3 ft 3 in to 6 ft 7 in) deep.
The three currently recognized subspecies are: Marmota caligata caligata – Alaska, Yukon, NW Territories, northern British Columbia Marmota caligata cascandensis – Cascade Mountains, from British Columbia to Washington Marmota caligata okanagana – Rocky Mountains, from Yukon to Montana and Idaho
Spotted on Aug 12, 2018
Submitted on Aug 14, 2018
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