Yellow-bellied Marmot Pups Exploring Beyond Their Burrow

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Yellow-bellied Marmot pup siblings near their burrowYellow-bellied Marmot pup siblings near their burrow – Nikon D500, f10, 1/400, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The two times I have observed and photographed these Yellow-bellied Marmot pups I have enjoyed watching them explore the area around their burrow, not only are they cute they are also entertaining. I like being able to see and photograph the interactions between the marmot pups because they are social animals and I also like photographing them individually. These two marmot pups stayed close together for nearly five minutes, they didn’t really interact with each other but I have to wonder if they just liked being close to each other or if they simply felt safer being closer to their burrow.

Alert little Yellow-bellied Marmot pup on a rockAlert little Yellow-bellied Marmot pup on a rock – Nikon D500, f9, 1/800, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

This alert Yellow-bellied Marmot pup stood up and caught my eye so I looked around to see what might have caused it to be on alert and a few seconds later I spotted three Turkey Vultures flying towards the pups. Good eye little one, good eye. It could have been a Red-tailed Hawk which would have put them in danger.

Cute Yellow-bellied Marmot pups on a lichen-covered rockCute Yellow-bellied Marmot pups on a lichen-covered rock – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The first time I photographed these marmot pups they stuck very close to their burrow and a few days later it was interesting to watch them exploring further away on the hillside behind it. These marmot pups seemed to enjoy this lichen-covered rock because they went that direction several times while I photographed the little marmot family. I thought the differences in the facial markings of these two pups stood out well in this image. There is one marmot pup that has a much lighter face than all the other pups. I don’t know why.

Yellow-bellied Marmot pups side by sideYellow-bellied Marmot pups side by side – Nikon D500, f16, 1/250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The closeness of these Yellow-bellied Marmot pups is wonderful to observe and great fun to photograph. I expect that the next time I see them they will be exploring even further away from their burrow and most likely I won’t get photos of them as close together as I have recently because they are becoming more adventurous as they grow older and will spend less time near their burrow.

Life is good.


By the way, there is snow on the ground this morning, the weather forecasters got it right! Happy 107th of January.

I hope it is the last snow this spring, at least down here in the valley. 



  1. Ken Schneider April 19, 2018 at 3:49 am

    I especially like that final photo– it really speaks of their relationship!

  2. Elephants Child April 17, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Furry little heart-melters.
    Thank you.

  3. Marty K April 17, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    It must be so much fun to watch them in person! I’m filled with glee just form your photographs!

  4. Laura Culley April 17, 2018 at 10:57 am

    What a bunch of cuties! It’s so cool to watch them as they explore ever farther away from hearth and home until they’re adults. The Natural (real) world is just so fascinating! And you’re right–life IS good!

  5. Patty Chadwick April 17, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Thay are CUTE!!!!!!!!!

  6. Liz Cormack April 17, 2018 at 8:27 am

    I’m so glad you’ve posted more photos of the pups. They are adorable.

  7. April Olson April 17, 2018 at 7:28 am

    They are adorable!

  8. Bob mcpherson April 17, 2018 at 6:20 am

    Cool photos Mia.

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