Other names: Munggen
Latin name: Marmota
size: 30 - 60cm
mass: 3500 - 7000g
Older: 10 - 17 years
Appearance: gray-brown coat
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: predominantly herbivores (herbivor)
food: Grass, roots, herbs, insects
distribution: Asia, Europe, North America
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: Steppe, highlands
natural enemies: Birds of prey
sexual maturity: about 2 - 3 years
mating season: May June
gestation: 30 days
litter size: 2 - 4 cubs
social behavior: Different kind of night
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting about the groundhog
- The groundhog is a rodent of the gopan family, closely related to the squirrel.
- It is found only in temperate climates and Arctic regions of Europe, Asia and America.
- Fourteen different species of marmots are distinguished worldwide, inhabiting primarily steppes, scree landscapes and alpine areas above the tree line in cold areas.
- The marmot is a comparatively large rodent of stout and conical body, which reaches a head-hull length of up to sixty centimeters depending on the species. The bushy hairy tail is ten to twenty inches long.
- The marmot's fur is dense and may appear in different shades of gray and brown depending on the species. The tail is usually light brown colored and has a dark brown or black spot at the end. The sexes are difficult to distinguish from each other, but often the coat of the males is slightly darker than that of the females.
- Due to their thick fur, the marmots are perfectly adapted to the harsh weather conditions in their habitats.
- As a burrowing animal the groundhog has strong and hairless, with long and strong clawed front paws. The ears are comparatively small and are close to the head.
- Both hearing and vision are very well trained. The marmot has a wide field of vision, which results from the lateral position of the eyes on the skull.
- In the characteristic sitting posture on the hind paws, the marmot observes its surroundings. Fights are also carried out in this upright body position.
- With the typical whistles, marmots defend their colony against invaders of their kind.
- The sense of smell is not strong, yet the marmots of a colony recognize themselves by a secretion, which is formed in glands on the cheeks.
- The marmot feeds mainly on alpine herbs, grasses and roots, but occasionally also eats earthworms, insects and their larvae.
- From late summer all animals of a colony begin to let grasses dry in the sun. With the hay they pad their buildings to prepare them for hibernation. As extremely site-specific animals, they create buildings that are constantly being extended over generations. So groundhogs can literally puncture the earth in their territory.
- In comparison to other rodents, the marmot moves forward clumsily in a waddling walk. In case of danger, however, it can quickly flee into its construction.
- Immediately after the hibernation takes place from May, the mating takes place when the winter bacon of the animals is not completely used up.
- After a gestation period of about five weeks, the female gives birth to several blind young, who leave the building only two months later. About half of the young do not survive the first winter.
- Marmots have an average life expectancy of about fifteen years.