Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Whistling pigs of Colorado
Among locals, yellow-bellied marmots have earned the nickname of "whistling pigs". Marmots are not actually pigs. Instead, they are cat-sized rodents that belong to the family Rodentia.
Marmots spend a lot of time eating during the summer months. They must put on weight all summer long so that they can store-up enough fat to survive the winter during hibernation. Their diet is comprised mainly of forbs, grasses, sedges, clovers, and alfalfa.
However, when marmots encounter dangers, they take time out from foraging to make loud chirping sounds, called alarm-calls that sound like whistles.
This unique combination of eating a LOT and "whistling" while they work has earned this critter the nickname, "whistling pig."