Jasper Wildlife: The Hoary Marmot

Jasper WildlifeThere is so much to see while traveling through Jasper National Park, the mountains, the lakes, the rivers. Perhaps the biggest thrill for visitors, however, comes from seeing the Jasper wildlife. From bears, to beaver, to elk the park is full of creatures of all kinds. Perhaps one of the cutest of these creatures is the horay marmot.

If you find yourself hiking in the Canadian Rockies and hear a little whistle, that’s likely the hoary marmot. As nice as the singing may sound, it is a warning sent from one marmot to another: a danger approaches. These little furries aren’t shouting for joy at your arrival, they are frightened.

Well known to North American mountain lovers, the hoary marmot weighs up to 20 pounds and has an identifiable white back. Usually they are found dining on the plants of the high Jasper alpine and fattening up to sleep away the7-8 months of Rocky Mountain winter. An 8 month nap, wouldn’t that be nice?

Hikers in Jasper may also find the marmot wrestling with one of its hairy friends, as the creatures are very playful. They are part of the squirrel family and have dens that are usually found under large boulders, well below the ground, which prevents large predators such as bears and
wolves from digging them up and eating them.

These over-sized squirrels aren’t shy as long as you keep your distance so if you hear singing in the Canadian Rockies, chances are you’ll find a horay marmot nearby and you should get your camera ready.

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