My Favorite Holiday

Really, today is my absolute favorite holiday. Groundhog Day!

Baby Marmot

Baby Marmot

As a kid, I was enamored of the idea of a fat, fuzzy, incredibly cute rodent being able to predict the weather. Groundhogs, or their closely related western cousins, yellow-bellied marmots have been one of my favorite animals since the time my dad took us on a camping trip where we were serenaded by the shrill whistles of marmots at play. When my dad told me they were also called Whistle Pigs, I was hooked. Groundhogs, woodchucks, marmots, whistle pigs, rock chucks – they’re known by a huge variety of names!

Lounging Marmot

Lounging Marmot

There’s a colony of marmots I always look for in Yellowstone. It’s a very reliable spot, but sometimes they’ve moved to a different rock outcropping so I have to search for them. I could watch them for hours gallumping along, waddling over logs, or just splayed out on a rock sunbathing. If I go up to the park and don’t see them, the trip isn’t complete. I might see 10 grizzly bears but if there aren’t any marmot sightings, I’m a little sad.

This is generally the view I capture with most animals.

This is generally the view I capture with most animals.

Marmots and groundhogs are generalists and various species live across the entire Northern Hemisphere. I was elated when we saw some in the French Alps. They eat just about any vegetation and once the plants die back in the fall, marmots take to their burrows and hibernate six to eight months. That’s a long time! It’s a blue day for me every fall when I realize my marmot buddies are fast asleep in their warm dens.

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There’s lots of talk about spirit animals these days. Most folks seem to choose flashy animals with great qualities – the prowess of a bear, the cunning of a cougar, the intelligence of a dolphin.

I’m not sure what it says about me that my Spirit Animal is a social, prone to lounge, chubby, sleepy marmot!

2 thoughts on “My Favorite Holiday

  1. Charlotte Dixon

    What a refreshing way to begin my day, Leslie 🙂 Your blog about these cute, chubby mammals is delightful. When I was still working, I had the privilege of doing some of that work in Sequoia Nat’l Park. I couldn’t wait to get through the foothills and into the lush greenery of the mountains. I have observed so many sweet furry critters, a sky more beautiful than any words can describe, and the sounds only made in a forest. I envy your daily foray into the beauty of nature. Thank you for the serenity in my day 🙂

    • Oh Charlotte, how wonderful you go to work in Sequoia – I’ve never been there but always wanted to go. I do love where I live, but it’s amazing what can be discovered even in cities. Nature is there – we just have to try harder to find it in in some places!

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