Melt like a Marmot

_T6C5162m marmot

Those are impressive whiskers.

To the casual hiker there are no signs of life in the dark shadows of the boulders guarding the Yellowstone River Valley. But while the intruder carefully picks his way over uneven rocks, there are sets of eyes cautiously watching his every step.

As he gets closer to one pair of eyes, they fade to black, then slowly reappear undetected in a different shadow.

The intruder notices a bouncing tail in the distance and instantly marvels at the sight. His suspicions were right – he has found a marmot! He catches glimpses between branches and rocks as it effortlessly glides over the rocky shoreline. He tries to get a photograph but the marmot has melted into the terrain.

All the eyes continue to watch as the intruder makes his way up and away toward a bison path. If he had looked back, he would seen a nose peaking out here and tail sliding around a shrub there. But he doesn’t.

The intruder disappears and the boulders once again come alive with marmots scurrying around their rocky home.

_T6C5150, marmot

One of the locals told me that a foreign tourist had been excited about all the baby bears he had seen. I suppose there is some resemblance.

_T6C5214, marmot

The colours of the marmot blend nicely with its rocky neighbourhood.

_T6C5202, marmot

A marmot’s body takes different shapes depending on what it’s doing. Lying on a rock definitely makes it look fat. I didn’t say anything.

_T6C4501, marmot

I was fortunate to keep up with this marmot cruising over the rocks at high speed.

Latest Comments

  1. mflahertyphoto says:

    Hahaha! Love the baby bears comment. I thought almost everybody knew what a marmot was, but I seem to have been wrong on that assumption. Great that you stuck with it and got a series. Nice job Lyle!


  2. doraiswamyganesh says:

    Dear Lyle , I feel they belong to the mongoose family a vegetarian animal and a deadly enemy of the snake.It knows the vegetable kingdom which protects it from the poison bites and it always wins the battle.Do the marmots belong to this family? Regards, Ganesh.


    • lylekrahn says:

      I’m not sure but it doesn’t appear to be the case. A quick look at wikipedia indicates the marmot is part of the ground squirrel family. I’ve only seen the mongoose when we were in Hawaii and would have loved to watch it fight a snake.


  3. Phil Lanoue says:

    Tremendous shots of these very cool critters!


  4. caleephotography says:

    Brilliant text & pictures as usual! I’ve never seen a real marmot, so thanks for sharing! Baby bears.. LOL 😀


  5. Deb W. Trotter says:

    Yellowstone marmots must be more reserved than the bold beggars I have encountered along the Garden Wall in Glacier! Really nice photos, Lyle. And a well-told tale.


    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks. That’s so right. Animals in different places react so differently to humans depending on what’s happened to them in the past (feeding I presume). I have had deer come so close I had to shoo them away for fear they’d eat the food right off the picnic table and other times I crack a door open and the deer would be running hundreds of yards away. It’s nice to still have the wild in the animals.


  6. pary880 says:

    lovely pics here…


  7. sagescenery says:

    God’s creatures are sooo amazing…you captured them beautifully!!


  8. niasunset says:

    so beautiful, especially the first one. Thanks and Love, nia


  9. Mark1 says:

    I love animal pictures with stories. Nice post!


  10. 1107photography says:

    Great shots and kudos on keeping up!


  11. FeyGirl says:

    Ah, I’d love to see one of these guys! What wonderful captures.


  12. Mike Powell says:

    I’m a suburban guy, so I had to do a search to establish for myself what a marmot exactly is–I don’t think that I have even heard of them before. Your photos are simply wonderful. I love the texture, lighting, and details of the shots, especially those in which the marmot is poking its head out from the rocks. Your description reads like it is part of a screenplay for an Indiana Jones-type adventure film. Do you wear the proper kind of hat and carry a bullwhip when you are in the wild?


    • lylekrahn says:

      They are a pretty well kept secret but one of my favourites. I was pleasantly surprised at how they turned out considering I was dealing with relatively harsh sunlight on a dark animal but exposing to show off the darker parts seemed to pay off.

      The adventure film reference was amusing. I do have to confess to having some unusual hats but they likely wouldn’t qualify and I never thot of a bull whip!


  13. Rexlin Victor says:

    Wonderful shots!!!


  14. photographybycalliec says:

    How gorgeous is this animal ( Marmot,) never heard of them or seen them before.
    I just love the first image with it head poking up, it really show there personality. The series is fantastic I tell you Ill be reading about you is some nature magazine or national geographic soon. Unbelievably excellent!!!
    keep the great work up
    Cheers Callie


    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks for the vote of confidence. For once I get to show a creature that you’re not familiar with instead of the other way around! This guy is one of my favourites but I had never been able to get a good shot until this trip.


  15. Jeff | Planet Bell says:

    The marmot is easily my favorite rodent. I like the 3rd one. He is so fat and cute. These photos do a good job of showing their personality.


  16. melodylowes says:

    Great shots! I especially love the one stretched out on the rock (even if it isn’t the most flattering angle for him/her…) 🙂


  17. ckponderings says:

    Great images, nicely captured! 🙂


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