Alpine marmot

Marmota marmota

Distribution. Alps, Carpathians, Pyrenees, Tatra mountains of Europe.


Alpine marmots live in grazed sub-alpine pastures and higher elevation alpine regions. Like many other Old World marmots, alpine marmots live in family groups where there is a breeding pair and offspring from previous years. Older male offspring have been shown to help thermoregulate younger siblings during the cold alpine winters. Occasionally sons may mate with their mothers. About half the adult females will breed in a given year. Litter sizes are small, about two and a half pups. Active seasons are relatively long, five and a half months, but young tend not to disperse for at least 3 years. Sometimes new adult males move into a social group and kill pups. Such male infanticide has also been reported in golden marmots. Alpine marmots have two different alarm calls. They commonly whistle and occasionally produce a descending whistle. The more common whistle tends to be repeated a variable number of times and is associated with the degree of risk a caller experiences.


Photo: D.T. Blumstein

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