Vancouver Island marmot

Vancouver Island marmot

Vancouver Island marmot

2 languages
Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Marmota vancouverensis
Population size
250
Life Span
10 yrs
Weight
3-7.5 kg
Length
65-70 cm

The Vancouver Island marmot (Marmota vancouverensis ) naturally occurs only in the high mountains of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia. This particular marmot species is large compared to some other marmots, and most other rodents. Marmots as a group are the largest members of the squirrel family, with weights of adults varying from 3 to 7 kg depending on age and time of year.

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Although endemic to Vancouver Island, Marmota vancouverensis now also resides successfully at several captive breeding centres across Canada as well as several sites on Vancouver Island at which local extinction was observed during the 1990s. This is the result of an ongoing recovery program designed to prevent extinction and restore self-sustaining wild populations of this unique Canadian species. Due to the efforts of the recovery program, the marmot count in the wild increased from fewer than 30 wild marmots in 2003, to an estimated 250–300 in 2015.

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Di

Diurnal

Fo

Folivore

He

Herbivore

Gr

Graminivore

Zo

Zoochory

Fo

Fossorial

Is

Island endemic

Po

Pollinator

Te

Terrestrial

Vi

Viviparous

Bu

Burrowing

Te

Territorial

Mo

Monogamy

So

Social

Co

Colonial

Hi

Hibernating

No

Not a migrant

V

starts with

Appearance

The Vancouver Island marmot is a large member of the squirrel family. It can be easily distinguished from other marmots by its rich, chocolate brown fur and contrasting white patches. No other marmot species naturally occurs on Vancouver Island.

Distribution

Geography

Continents
Countries
Biogeographical realms

These animals can be found only in the high mountains of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia. They inhabit subalpine meadows with steep slopes, coniferous forests, road banks, and meadows created by ski runs.

Vancouver Island marmot habitat map

Climate zones

Vancouver Island marmot habitat map
Vancouver Island marmot
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Habits and Lifestyle

Vancouver Island marmots live in small family colonies in underground burrows. They are territorial and mark their territories with scent glands on their cheeks. These animals are active during the day spending their time foraging, playing, and communicating with conspecifics, sunning on rocks, and resting in burrows. Depending upon site characteristics and annual weather conditions, marmots hibernate for various amounts of time. Wild Vancouver Island marmots hibernate, on average, for about 210 days of the year, generally from late September or early October until late April or early May.

Group name
Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Vancouver Island marmots are herbivores (graminivores, folivores) eating over 30 species of food plants. They typically shift from grasses in the early spring to plants such as lupines in late summer.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
PREGNANCY DURATION
30-35 days
BABY CARRYING
3-4 pups
BABY NAME
pup

Vancouver Island marmots are generally monogamous breeders and form pair bonds that last for many years. They breed soon after emergence from hibernation. The gestation period lasts approximately 30-35 days. Females give birth to litters of 3-4 blind and helpless pups. The young are usually weaned and emerge above ground for the first time in early July. They typically first breed at 3 or 4 years of age, although some have been observed to breed as two-year-olds.

Population

Population threats

The endangered Vancouver Island marmot remains one of the world's rarest mammals. The causes of this species' population decline are numerous. Over the long term, climate changes have caused both increases and declines of open alpine habitat that constitute suitable marmot habitat. Habitat loss due to clear-cutting of forests is another serious threat to Vancouver Island marmots as well as an increase in predation by Golden eagles, cougars and wolves.

Population number

According to Wikipedia resource, the total wild population size of the Vancouver Island marmot was counted at 250 individuals in 2021. Currently, this species is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.

References

1. Vancouver Island marmot Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vancouver_Island_marmot
2. Vancouver Island marmot on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/12828/22259184

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