- They live in breeding groups called “coteries” which are within larger colonies called “towns”. The largest prairie marmot town was estimated to house 400 million individuals.
- While out of the burrow, one prairie marmot will act as sentry, sitting on the mound of dirt next to the burrow to watch for predators.
- They are said to have a dog-like yip.
Black-tailed Prairie Marmot
Animals — Mammals — Rodentia (rodents) — Sciuridae (squirrel family)
Black-tailed prairie marmots are small rodents native to North America. They are tan, usually with slightly lighter bellies. Their tails have black tips, which gives them their name. Males are usually heavier than females, and can weigh up to 1.4kg.
These animals are extremely social, and have the most complicated social system of all prairie marmots. Social groups are called “coteries” that live together in “towns” which can number thousands of individuals. The largest town ever recorded stretched for 65,000 sq km and housed 400 million prairie marmots! They are active all year long, though they spend more time underground in winter.
They are classed as “Least Concern” by the IUCN because there are many in the wild over a large distribution.
Habitat: Prairies and grasslands.
–Average weight: 1.1kg
–Average length: 0.4m
In the wild up to: 7 years (most wild marmots live for an average of 1 year)
In captivity up to: 8.5 years
Diet: They are herbivores and so eat plants. They prefer to eat grasses.
Distribution: North America, particularly central USA ranging from Canada to Mexico.