Vancouver Island Marmot

Marmota vancouverensis

Vancouver Island Marmot

Appearance

Vancouver Island marmots have chocolate-brown fur and a white chest, nose and feet patches. They are the largest member of the squirrel family and can grow to the size of a housecat (five to seven kilograms).

Range & Habitat

Vancouver Island marmots live only in the alpine areas of the mountains on central Vancouver Island. In B.C., this animal is found in the Georgia Depression ecoprovince.

Diet & Behaviour

Their favourite food is the flowering parts of alpine plants. They live in open meadows that provide places for burrowing, rock outcrops where they can look for food and predators, and other foods like grasses and herbs. Vancouver Island marmots hibernate in complex burrows for seven months during winter. They live in colonies of one or more family groups.

Lifecycle & Threats

They breed when they turn four years old, giving birth to up to three pups underground. These pups are born in May and early June and then emerge from their burrows in July. They are threatened by habitat loss (clearcut logging), predators (wolves, cougars), and possible disease outbreaks.

Status

COSEWIC: Endangered
CDC: Red

More Information

www.marmots.org

Photo: Province of B.C