A Yellow-Bellied Marmot
Capitol Reef National Park
June 2003


Although I've seen marmots at a distance in the past in Utah, Capitol Reef National Park presented my first opportunity to see one within photography range.

Sue spotted him moving at a rapid walk close to one of the buildings, and he paused right under the fence.

Yellow-bellied marmot by fence

Yellow-bellied marmots are among the largest rodents, and they also have one of the longer periods of hiberation, something like 6 months. But however much a marmot enjoys a good rest, this one could certainly turn on the speed: he was crossing the roadway. (It is a good idea to keep to the 15-mph speed limit along this section of the road, since among the orchards of the lowlands, we saw, on various days while driving, any number of animals crossing the road, including antelope squirrels, marmots, and an Ord kangaroo rat.)
Marmot at high speed
We continued our way and ascended on the Kohab Canyon trail. Afterward, on ground level again, we saw this same fellow but at rest, which was good for me, since the next shot was at about a thirtieth of a second, very slow for a 400mm photograph.
Marmot relaxing

If the marmot is looking content, no doubt it is due in large part to the pretty female marmot not so far away.

Photography note: The photos were taken with a Pentax LX and the SMC 400-600mm reflex lens.  

Lizards of Capitol Reef   |   Fossilized Puzzle at Capitol Reef

Brycian trees   |   chipmunk   |   Bryce Point

Zion National Park   |   Petrified Forest National Park

Dinosaur National Monument   |   Contact

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