Mot spotting
#1
Been busy with all my mot spotting duties recently.   Baby mots are popping up all over!

[Image: MotGreen.JPG]

[Image: MotFuzzTail.JPG]


I followed that baby mot around for an hour. Got lots of good photos and video.
Note that when excited, a baby marmot's tail becomes a "bottle brush" much like a kitten. Normally, mot tails are flat.

This baby guy is about 8 inches (20cm) long nose to butt and probably weighs a pound (.5kg). His tail is 3 inches (7.5cm) long.
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#2
This looks suspiciously like what we in the Midwest would call a "woodchuck." Same critter? If so, you are welcome to the one that is currently making its den underneath my driveway.  Angry
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#3
(05-19-2015, 01:04 PM)Munin Wrote: This looks suspiciously like what we in the Midwest would call a "woodchuck." Same critter?

Yup. The species Marmota monax is commonly known as woodchucks, groundhogs, and whistlepigs and others. Sometimes I call them Snort Glortners, but mostly I refer to them (and all Marmota specie) as MOTS.

As for your guy, my general advice is to let him do whatever he wants. Free entertainment for you. He'll be out of that den before the end of summer.
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#4
Nope. This is the third year we've lived here and he (she?) or one of his (her?) ilk has been here every summer. Normally I wouldn't mind, but the subsequent void space under the slab has actually caused it to crack, threatening to turn my driveway into a sinkhole. Plus also, my dog goes nuts every time he espies the little guy poking his head out.

Did you know that woodchucks climb trees? It's not common, but when they do it is perhaps one of the goofiest, ungainliest, most hilarious things I've yet seen.
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#5
(05-19-2015, 09:22 PM)Munin Wrote: Nope. This is the third year we've lived here and he (she?) or one of his (her?) ilk has been here every summer.

Yep, they come and go. They prefer to over-winter in dens near tree roots. Do you have a tree nearby? Mots also select different birthing dens.

Wait til he vacates and fill the den before you spend $5000 on a new slab - you'll know when he's not there by the absence of flies/bugs flying around the entrance. Mots dig separate "bathrooms" in the den that the bugs are attracted to. When there's no fresh poop, the bugs leave. No bugs, no mot.

(05-19-2015, 09:22 PM)Munin Wrote: Did you know that woodchucks climb trees?

YES! In all the time I've been doing this I've only seen it less than half a dozen times. I've only ever gotten TWO photos of a mot in a tree, but they're from some distance, and once they see you coming they tend to bail.

About two weeks ago I was watching a den and the mot came out and grabbed this little tree about 4 inches in diameter. I thought he was going to climb, but instead he did this HILARIOUS "pole dance" as he rubbed the sides of his face on it. He just stood there, jumping back and forth a bit as he clutched the trunk. Quietest. Laughing. EVER.

Mots are in the squirrel family; I guess they like to dig more than climb.

The only thing funnier than a mot climbing a tree is a porcupine climbing a tree! Because they are TERRIBLE at it and often fall! In fact, a porcupine's quills are antiseptic BECAUSE they fall out of trees so often; don't want to die of an infection from your own defensive weapon after falling on it.

Search for porcupine climbing/falling videos. Worth any time expenditure.
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#6
I know it's hard to believe, but this morning I found yet ANOTHER birthing den!  Baby mots yay!  I think there are six in this litter, and they are a couple weeks younger than the guy pictured above.

Here's the best photo from today, a line-up of the usual suspects:

[Image: Emerge4.JPG]
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#7
*sqeeee* Look at those puffy cheeks! Big Grin
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#8
(05-19-2015, 09:22 PM)Munin Wrote: Did you know that woodchucks climb trees?


Of course, once I talk about how difficult it is to get a photo, the universe makes me a liar! Today I got at least a dozen photos of various baby mots climbing various trees, plus a few minutes of video.

The babies in the photo below could only manage to get about 2 feet (60 cm) up the tree before losing their grip and falling off. Baby marmots are your best entertainment value!

[Image: BabyClimb2.JPG]
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#9
I used to like to watch the groundhogs that live in the greenspace surrounding Ottawa's Transitway while taking the bus to work. Sometimes you'd see a bunch of youngsters run as the bus zoomed by, with the momma standing there as if to say "Don't worry, kids, it's just a tin box full of humans..." Little known fact: Wiarton Willie, Ontario's famous Groundhog Day groundhog, is an (well, actually 3 - they have a couple of backups in case the main one gets sick or dies) albino Ottawa Transitway marmot.
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#10
(08-13-2015, 02:10 AM)Owen Oulton Wrote: I used to like to watch the groundhogs that live in the greenspace surrounding Ottawa's Transitway while taking the bus to work.

I now have a reason to go to Ottawa. I'll get a passport!
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