Yellow-bellied marmot (lat. Marmota flaviventris) Is one of the representatives of the marmot genus that lives in North America.
It has a gray-brown rough fur on the back and yellowish-buffy on the belly. The top of the head is almost black, and the cheeks and nose are covered with a light six. Sometimes there are completely black individuals, the number of which sometimes reaches a quarter of the entire colony.
Yellow-bellied marmots are slightly larger than forest ones - their body length ranges from 47 to 70 cm. At the same time, males are much larger than females: their weight is within 3-5 kg, while women weigh on average 1.5-4 kg.
These glorious members of the squirrel family live in the western United States and Canada, preferring the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains. They can be found even at an altitude of up to 2 thousand meters above sea level. In doing so, they choose picturesque green lawns surrounded by bare rocks and talus. They also like open, grassy or grassy slopes. It is very rare to find them in shrub or forest areas.
Yellow-bellied marmots are very sociable - they have as many as eight sound signals, with the help of which they transmit a huge amount of information. It is noticed that for each situation there is its own type of signal.
Most of the time, yellow-bellied marmots spend in nesting holes, each of which has three exits. They feed on herbs, leaves and flowers, occasionally diluting their vegetarian diet with locusts and bird eggs. They are active during the day, in search of food they can go very far from their homes.
Up to four females settle next to one male, who live very amicably and even bring up babies together. Pregnancy lasts for them about a month, and babies are born in the period from April to June and by the cold they already become independent. One litter may have from one to nine puppies, but on average there are 3-5.
Interestingly, if the female is completely healthy and there is plenty of food around, more male marmots are born, which will have to explore new territories. Even girls in such broods behave completely like a man: they play actively, fight and do not want to give offspring. But if the female is sick and a little tight with food, mostly girls are born. Obviously, nature is so concerned about the preservation of the species.
Young animals leave their parents already in the year of their birth, but in exceptional cases they can overwinter in their native colony. The depth of winter burrows in yellow-bellied marmots reaches 5-7 meters, while ordinary ones are at a depth of no more than a meter. The duration of hibernation of animals depends on weather conditions and can last from September to May. In the spring, young males from last year's brood are necessarily driven out of the colony.
Females become ready to reproduce at the age of two. The average life expectancy of yellow-bellied marmots is 13-15 years. They are not yet threatened with disappearance, therefore, they do not have any protective status in their homeland. The main enemies of marmots are some species of mammals, birds of prey and humans. Marmots greatly interfere with the latter when cultivating agricultural land, where animals wander in search of food.