Roadside Yellow-bellied Marmot in Northern Utah – Photos and Facts

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Yellow-bellied Marmot sticking out its tongueYellow-bellied Marmot sticking out its tongue – Nikon D500, f9, 1/800, ISO 250, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light

I had a great time photographing a roadside Yellow-bellied Marmot yesterday in northern Utah and the marmot was very cooperative. So cooperative that I took way, way too many images of it. But, I figure since I don’t have many opportunities with marmots I should take the photos when I can.

And if they make me laugh like this Yellow-bellied Marmot sticking out its tongue, all the better! This photo also shows the marmots feet and long nails that this species uses for digging into the earth. This was taken without my teleconverter on.

Yellow-bellied Marmot close upYellow-bellied Marmot close up – Nikon D500, f9, 1/640, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

And I just can’t resist portraits of my subjects when I can take them without disturbing my subjects so I put my teleconverter back on and took this close up of the marmot while it looked around next to the rocks its burrow is in.

Yellow-bellied Marmot about to yawnYellow-bellied Marmot about to yawn – Nikon D500, f10, 1/320, ISO 320, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light

The marmot crawled up a rock from the grasses and laid itself down on a rock and for a bit it seemed like it was going to go to sleep. Out loud I said “Please yawn” and the next thing I knew it was yawning.

Yawning Yellow-bellied MarmotYawning Yellow-bellied Marmot – Nikon D500, f10, 1/250, ISO 320, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light

Of course the marmot didn’t listen to me and I’m not a “whisperer” of any kind, but it was nice that the marmot yawned when it did. Looks at those long teeth!

Yellow-bellied Marmot eating grass portraitYellow-bellied Marmot eating grass portrait – Nikon D500, f9, 1/800, ISO 320, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

When the marmot moved off of the rocks and started to nibble on spring grasses I put my teleconverter back on and took many more close ups of it while it was eating.

I just can’t resist Yellow-bellied Marmots.

A few Yellow-bellied Marmot Facts:

  • Male marmots are larger on average than the females.
  • Yellow-bellied Marmots are found throughout the western U.S including the Rockies, Sierra Nevada and the intermountain west along with some areas in Canada.
  • The preferred habit for Yellow-bellied Marmots includes alpine meadows, steppes, rocky mountain talus slopes, pastures and forest edges.
  • Yellow-bellied Marmots eat grasses, leaves, blossoms of herbaceous plants, grains, fruit and occasionally insects.
  • Yellow-bellied Marmots have four pups in their litters.
  • Yellow-bellied Marmots live up to 13 to 15 years.

Life is good.



  1. Dave April 29, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Wherr exactly where they? I live in the northern utah area have never seen them.

    • Mia McPherson April 30, 2017 at 5:23 am

      Hi Dave,

      I don’t give out exact locations on animals like Yellow-bellied Marmots because they are often targeted as a nuisance species and I don’t want to be responsible for getting them shot or killed and believe it or not I know my posts on mammals are followed by hunting groups in Utah, I have seen posts about my finds in their forums. But look for the marmots on rocky mountain slopes that have plenty of grasses nearby. They can be seen from secondary roads all over northern Utah. Most often I see them laying on top of the rocks enjoying the warmth of the sun.

  2. Pepe Forte April 21, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Wonderful set of photos and your narrative is very interesting. I had no idea that Marmots live so long or have such formidable choppers! Very cool…thanks Mia.

  3. Kvaddi April 21, 2017 at 10:26 am

    These are just awesome. Marmots are very interesting creatures. I shot several pictures of roadside marmots in Ladakh region of Himalayas in India. They are incredibly curios and sit outside their burrows fearlessly.

  4. Utahbooklover April 20, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Wonderful images and I appreciate the list of facts. This morning I was surprised by a pair of visitors close by on the patio:
    a beautiful male 🦆 and a beautiful female Mallard ducks! They checked out the backyard and 10 minutes later flew off.

  5. Bob mcpherson April 20, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Awesome photos , Mia

  6. Christine Williams April 20, 2017 at 10:46 am

    We have a cabin in the Uintahs with many of these critters around. They whistle when they talk, hence me named our cabin Whistle Pig.
    Thanks for the fun pictures.

  7. Patty Chadwick April 20, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Those sun-warmed rocks must feel really good! I’ve seen quite a few of these guys, but never saw these behaviors….

  8. stephen April 20, 2017 at 7:49 am

    I have them around my place near Park City, but I’ve never seen those teeth! wow

  9. Liz Cormack April 20, 2017 at 7:42 am

    What a great series of photos. I love the one of it sticking it’s tongue out.

  10. Kim April 20, 2017 at 6:59 am

    These are so awesome!

Comments are closed.