I'm also a Yellow Bellied Marmot!
We are one of the largest members of the squirrel family. We can grow up to two feet in length and weigh up to 11 pounds. Yes, I am rather pudgy... but my large body size is an adaptation to the cold, high elevation where I live.
I'm a friendly guy, but here I am acting as the sentinel for my family. If any of you humans make me nervous - I'll whistle to them as an alarm to go back inside the den.
The extreme winters here in the Rocky Mountains require us to use hibernation for survival. We enjoy basking in the summer sunshine, and munching on grasses, flowers, insects... all to fatten up - this will get us though the roughly 200 days of hibernation. During the winter, we snuggle up closely to conserve energy - though our temperatures will drop to about 41 degrees fahrenheit. Our heart beat will be reduced to about 30 per minute (normally it's 180-200 when active), and we'll only need one or two breaths per minute during this phase.
When we awaken in the spring, all this winter conservation will have left us with just enough energy to wander out... squint into the brilliant Colorado sun, and start munching again!
Here's where I live... not a bad view, eh?!
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