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Happy Marmot Day!

February 3, 2018

 

 

 

Marmot Day is an Alaskan holiday – our version of Groundhog Day - to celebrate marmots and Alaskan culture. Following a bill, signed by Sarah Palin, Marmot Day became an official holiday on April 18, 2009, and is celebrated on February 2nd each year.

 

The Alaskan marmot, also known as the Brooks Range marmot or the Brower's marmot, is a species of rodent. It is found primarily in the rock slopes of the Brooks Range, Alaska.

 

Alaskan marmots are mammals. They have a short neck and head, bushy tail, small ears, short powerful legs and feet, and a thick body covered in coarse hair.  Their feet have tough claws adapted for digging, however, the thumbs of their front limbs do not have these claws but flat nails instead.  They predominantly eat grass, flowering plants, berries, roots, moss, and lichen.

 

Adults are an average of 22-24” long and weigh 7-8 pounds, with the female usually being slightly smaller.  Marmots tend to have poor eyesight, and their teeth continue to grow throughout their lifetime.

 

Alaskan marmots are very social, living in colonies of up to 50 and sharing a common burrow system.  Adults typically have their own personal den, while the young live with their mother and the father lives in a nearby den.  In large colonies, marmots use a sentry, and periodically rotate individuals in this role.  As a sentry, the marmot will alert the colony via a two-toned, high-pitched warning call if there is a predator in the area.

 

Alaska marmots are active during warmer weather until snow begins to fall, then they hibernate till spring arrives in early May or June.

 

Despite reviewing several sources however, I could find no indication that these rodents possess any meteorological skills!  LOL

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