Hoary marmots are greyish brown with white fur on their shoulders and back. They are 45 to 57 centimetres long and have a long tail and thick, slightly curved claws.
Range & Habitat
They live at high elevations, near the tree line on rocky slopes and alpine meadows. They are found throughout the mountainous areas of B.C.
Diet & Behaviour
Hoary marmots spend seven months hibernating after eating alpine plants and seeds all summer. In areas where there is enough food, they will live in a colony with a dominant male, females and offspring. There may be other males living in this group as well, but only one male in charge! Hoary marmots spend time wandering and playing and have four different alarm calls they use to alert fellow marmots in their colony. The whistling sound that they make is commonly heard by hikers in mountain parks.
Lifecycle & Threats
The breeding season begins after hoary marmots come out of hibernation (mid-May). They have two to five young and the young stay in the burrow until they are about a month old. They go off on their own when they are 2 years old, but many don’t survive because of predation. There can be a shortage of protective burrows for young marmots to dive into when danger approaches.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk
Photo: Royal BC Museum