|by Marcia Malory|
Marmots belong to the Sciuridae, or squirrel, family.
They generally live on mountains, such as the Rocky Mountains of North America and the Alps of Europe.
A marmot has thick, grayish fur, a short tail and small ears.
Marmots usually live in burrows, in colonies of up to 50 individuals.
They are diurnal (active during the day).
Marmots hibernate in winter.
Alpine marmots live in the Alps, the Carpathian Mountains, the Pyrenees and the Tatra Mountains.
They eat grass, flowers, bulbs, seeds, insects and birds' eggs.
As winter approaches, alpine marmots will descend from the mountains to find warm spots in which to hibernate.
When they find suitable spots, they will dig burrows and line them with dry grass.
Many alpine marmots will share a burrow, but each pair will have its own snug compartment.
There, they will sleep for six months.
In June, the female alpine marmot will give birth to between four and six offspring.
The family will then climb back up the mountain.