On our walk up the Sunrise Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, we saw marmots. These giant squirrels did not look right. We remembered marmots that were much more uniformly brown. These animals seemed to be silver-haired, hence their name. This species is found in western Canada, Alaska, and in our Pacific Northwest.
Not surprisingly, we saw several marmots along the trail. They live in colonies consisting of up to 36 individuals. The colony includes an adult male, perhaps three adult females, and various young marmots. Colony size is limited by food availability.
Hoary Marmots hibernate for seven or eight months a year. In the summer, they often sun themselves on rocks. About half their day is spent this way. The remainder of their time is spent foraging for various plant materials.