Whistle pig in a meadow

Whistle pig in a meadow – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Any creature in a meadow of bright yellow flowers is adorable, but these cute and furry ground squirrels are also very entertaining. You may also know them as marmots, groundhogs, woodchucks or whistle pigs. The last name describes the shrill call they make to alert the colony of trespassers nearby (such as us humans). Which also means that as you walk through whistle pig territory (Yellowstone National Park), you have high-pitched music following you around everywhere you go.

I met a marmot

The marmot I met – Photograph by Laura Lecce

I met a marmot for the first time in Yellowstone National Park, and these little critters are now quite possibly at the top of my favorites list (well second,  lizards still win). They are such a cute, cuddly-looking, round ball of orange-brown fur. In the case of the photo above, the fur color was a perfect blend with the rock that this marmot calls his home. Never straying far from the safety of his fortress, he went on happily munching the grass shoots in his front yard while I sat and took his photo. It took a while for me to get a good portrait as he mostly had his head down pulling up grass, then would periodically put his head up for a just a second to check that I was still watching him. Capturing a photo of a marmot is a very seasonal activity, as you wont find them around from about September to May as they happily hibernate through the colder months of the year. I wish I could do the same!