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16 August 2009 @ 11:15 am
Rocky Mountain National Park - Marmots!  
Marmots in the Alpine Tundra zone of the Rocky Mountain National Park were a crazy bunch and I think they deserved a separate post of their own for the show they put on.

Marmots - The Kiss!

That photograph alone will not tell the story and is open to interpretation by the viewer. It does look like the marmots are kissing but they're not. Marmots are the largest true hibernators and all marmots except the woodchuck are social animals, so this group was perhaps a family. But even in social groups there are frequent fights for food and dominance and I think this was one such case. Here's the full story (according to me anyway and which may be corrected if a marmot expert says otherwise!):

One marmot has found something to eat and has staked claim to a nice little spot

And begins eating

Another marmot doesn't like something about it and attacks...

... and a fight begins

Round 1 to intruder

But the intruder won't get away with it just yet

More intense fighting begins

Intruder is on the verge of giving up...

...and does so by running away

KrisKatskitty_kitty on August 16th, 2009 07:09 pm (UTC)
These are awesome action shots! Prairie dogs do something similar with the kissing. They'll be mouth to mouth, sometimes bending their bodies in comma shapes to make themselves look bigger, and then they'll scrap or someone will chicken out and run off. It reminds me of teddy bears wrestling. ;)