Marmoteers watch marmots and record which burrows they enter and how they interact with each other. In order to know which marmot is which, marmoteers spend a great deal of time painting unique symbols or designs on each marmot's back. In marmoteer lingo, we call this "marking" marmots. Marking marmots helps us to pick out patterns in individual marmots' behaviors. Some marmots tend to be bossy, others are friendly and playful, some are lazy, and others are shy. Marking marmots helps us tell which marmots are still alive and well and which have been snatched up by a predator or did not make it through the winter.
|Marmot G hangs out by Johnson Cabin. Photo courtesy Arianne Messerman.|
All marks must be different, so we are constantly trying to come up with new marks for the babies. When we were desperate, I created a few of my own this summer. Treble Clef and Rocket Ship did not turn out very good but Basketball and Sailboat were great. Letters, numbers, Greek symbols, blobs "blots", and lines are quite common. Without a doubt, marmoteers will be looking for more mark ideas this summer, so send them our way.