The Olympic marmot (Marmota olympus) is a rodent in the squirrel family Sciuridae. Its close relatives include the hoary marmot and the Vancouver Island marmot. The species occurs only in the U.S. state of Washington, on the middle elevations of the Olympic Peninsula. In 2009, it was declared the state's official endemic mammal.
This marmot is about the size of a domestic cat. It can be identified by a wide head, small eyes and ears, stubby legs, and long, bushy tail. Its sharp, rounded claws aid it in digging burrows. The coat color changes with the season and with age, but an adult marmot's coat is brown all over with small whiter areas for most of the year. This species shows the greatest sexual dimorphism found in marmots, with adult males weighing on average 2.2 kg (4.9 lb) more than females.
The Olympic marmot is considered a folivore; its diet consists mainly of a variety of meadow flora including leaves, and most importantly dry grasses, which are also used as bedding in burrows and to gain weight before hibernation. These marmots are preyed on by various terrestrial animals and avian raptors, but their main predator today is the coyote. The Olympic marmot is rated a species of Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. It is protected by law in the Olympic National Park.
Colonies of burrows are found in various locations in the Olympic Mountains and differ in size; some colonies can be home to as few as one marmot family, and some can have multiple families with up to 40 marmots. They are known for being very sociable animals which often engage in play fighting and vocalize four different whistles to communicate. Olympic marmots enter hibernation in September; adults emerge in May and their young in June. Female marmots reach sexual maturity at the age of three then produce litters of 1–6 every other mating season.
Other articles related to "olympic marmot, marmot, marmots, olympic, olympic marmots":
... The Olympic marmot is the second-rarest North American marmot, behind the Vancouver Island marmot which is critically endangered ... Marmots were first sighted in the Olympic Peninsula in the 1880s ... David Barash conducted a three-year study of Olympic marmots after which he reported that there was an abundance of marmots in the mountains ...
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