Alpine Marmots

You don’t walk far in the mountains around Verbier at this time of year without hearing the distant call of Alpine Marmots. Living at heights of between 800 and 3,200 meters, marmots live in the Alpine meadows and sub-alpine grasslands, burrowing into the land up to 3m underground and in burrows of up to 20m long. The moment they sense danger they quickly disappear into their burrows for safety. Marmots live in close knit family units of one male, one female and several young. Individuals that do not belong to the family are normally chased away.

By the age of 3, young marmots must leave the burrow and live independently. Visible and audible on the mountains until the end of September, marmots are real characters when spotted and whilst some run and hide as quickly as possible, others seem more at ease with the close presence of humans. At the end of September, the marmot retires to a well-lined burrow and goes into hibernation. During this time all bodily functions slow down and they rely on their layer of fat acquired from munching Alpine clover and grasses all Summer to sustain them through the cold Winter when they don’t eat or drink at all.

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