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Monday, July 18, 2011

The Yellow-bellied Marmot is not just another rodent.

Yellow-bellied marmots are one of my favorite photographic subjects.

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I know they just look like overgrown rats with short fluffy tails to most but to me they have several redeeming factors that boost them up the scale from the other lowly rodents.

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For one thing, they inhabit the upper elevations above 7000 feet and are, to me, a symbol of the high country. They often live in the same rock pile with one of my other favorites, the Pika.

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They live in family units and warn each other when they spot something that might be dangerous.

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They have beautiful coloration especially when the sun hits them just right.

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They are easy to sneak up on for close photographs and they pose so nicely for the camera. (Notice the defiant look and the articulated limbs.)

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For these reasons, I find Marmots almost impossible to pass up when I see them in the wild. I have actually sold several marmot photos including one or two cover shots for Varmint Hunter magazine.

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Marmots are easy to find. Just look in almost any rock pile above 7500 feet and you will quickly notice them basking in the morning sun or scurrying about feeding on nearby grasses and other plants. Look for them the next time you are photographing in the high country. Get to know them a little better and I think you will appreciate them just like I do.

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