Alpine marmot

Marmota marmota

An alpine marmot sits in a meadow at Hellabrunn Zoo. IUCN Red List endangerment category: Least concern
  • Family
    Squirrels (Sciuridae)
  • Weight
    up to 7 kg
  • Habitat
    Alpine meadows and pastures

Cosy home

Marmot families live in deep, meandering burrow systems. Here they mate, give birth to their young and hibernate. In summer, marmots gather grass to dry in the sun to make hay. A family can gather up to 10 kg of hay, which is used to provide soft bedding and warmth during the long winter sleep.

The picture shows an alpine marmot sitting upright. Its paws are brought to its mouth and it looks to the right side of the picture.

Hide on command

Marmots are particularly afraid of martens, foxes and birds of prey. Living on open mountain slopes they can easily become their next meal. When a marmot sees a predator, it emits a series of loud whistles – similar to bird chirping – to warn the entire colony. The group will then quickly disappear into the safety of their burrow.

During hibernation marmots minimise their energy consumption by only breathing once or twice per minute.


Distribution map marmot