Marmot video-bombs time-lapse film of Glacier Park, licks camera

August 17, 2014 • 1:58 pm

For some reason I don’t understand, photobombs by rodents are one of the most appealing things on the internet, drawing far more attention than, say, cat or dog photobombs. Perhaps it’s that adorable rodent face with its bulbous nose magnified by the camera. That, for example, may explain this old chestnut, perhaps the best—and certainly the most famous—animal photobomb of all time (full disclosure: I can’t vouch that it’s real, and I don’t know the species—perhaps a ground squirrel):

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But now we have its video equivalent, thanks to Greenpeace, which was trying to do a time-lapse video of Glacier National Park, hoping that, seeing its beauty, people would work against the global warming that would sap its beauty (oil drilling has also been mentioned as a potential subject of the video). But Greenpeace didn’t count on this cute little marmot interrupting, and even licking the GoPro camera:

As IFL Science reports, though, Greenpeace wasn’t fazed at all:

The folks at Greenpeace apparently weren’t too disappointed by the marmot’s cameo, and have even adopted it for the mascot of their message:

“But let’s be fair about this. This marmot took a minute out of its busy day to show us some love. It’s time for us to do the same. Global warming is shrinking marmot habitat — alpine tundra. Help protect his home from climate change.”

Not only that, but this marmot has gotten Greenpeace’s campaign far more attention than it would have otherwise. Posted just about a week ago, on August 9, it’s already garnered over 1.2 million views.

Oh, and here’s Andrzej and Leon the Kitten, just because I have it and don’t know where else to put it:

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28 thoughts on “Marmot video-bombs time-lapse film of Glacier Park, licks camera

    1. The angle makes ID difficult but the still photo at the top of the post looks like Callospermophilus lateralis, the Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel. Another tame backpack-raider.

  1. I wonder if they’re up at Logan Pass, looking down on Hidden Lake. When I was there about 10 years ago, there were a number of marmots around (plus chipmunks and mountain goats). But no photobombs.

  2. Many years ago I was riding a horse up a valley in Glacier Park — probably the same one in the video, because it looks very familiar. The marmots started calling their squeaky calls and I looked behind to see a Golden Eagle cruising up the valley. The marmot alarm calls swept ahead of the eagle like a wave. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. (Today, while fishing, I saw an otter trying to break into a beaver lodge, and one pissed off beaver.)

  3. That marmot video is so cute – I think what sets it apart is seeing the marmot, fully in focus, come trotting up from nowhere. 🙂

  4. I remember the original photo most vividly. It was taken near Banff and the couple were honeymooners from Minneapolis I believe. It made NGeo. too.

  5. Another lovely “cat man” photo! Jerry could put together a beautiful book with the many such pictures posted here. (I don’t mean the historic ones of authors and famous people; I mean the ordinary photos.)

  6. We had a marmot following us and whistling while we were hiking near Crested Butte, Colorado. Very cute beasties.

    1. Heard a groundhog whistle for the first time a couple of months ago. Until it appeared, I would have sworn it was a bird!

      1. Ground hogs are so cute. I see them around urban areas digging in small bits of grass. They are shy too; I tried to follow one, hoping to get his picture. He went around a corner so I gave up, & got into my car to go, but just as I was backing up, I noticed his snout sticking out from around the corner of the building he ran behind. I pulled back into my parking space to see him & as soon as I did he gave a start & pulled his snout back around the corner. So cute!

        1. We’ve had one (or a series–can’t tell which) living under a shed for some years now. S/he’ll climb 15 feet or more into the mulberry tree when the berries are ripe.

          A few times, not knowing it was there, I’ve been scanning the tree with binoculars, looking for birds, only to suddenly find a very large (through 12X bins) rodent face staring back at me.

          1. Ha ha! I didn’t know they could climb trees. They have those little tubby bodies, after all. I’d love to see that!

            1. I’ve got (not great) pictures somewhere, but my photo files have metastasized so badly, it’d take a while to find them.

              The mulberry (which was “bird-planted”) is surrounded by bird-planted shrubs, honeysuckle and the like, so it’s not like s/he has to climb a long stretch of smooth trunk, but the ‘chucks are still most surprisingly agile and good at balancing!

              1. I had a bird planted evergreen that is doing well. My parents’ giant cherry tree was also bird planted. I sometimes find sunflowers in various pots that other plants already occupy, thanks to chipmunks!

  7. Where I live (Kamloops, British Columbia), there’s a city park that’s home to lots of marmots. Signs along the riverwalk ask the humans not to feed the marmots (since their nutrition is so much better served by nature, than by our handouts, and because nothing good can come from them developing a dependence on us) and I almost always abide by this – really, I do. But when the urge is overwhelming, I bring a handful of raw fruits & veggies from our yard and garden. I figure these are things they would forage for, anyway; therefore, it shouldn’t put them off their regular diet of greens. And it’s such a thrill when one of the little guys approaches, first with some caution, then unhesitatingly, to take a treat right from your fingers.

    In an earlier comment, Stephen Barnard mentioned the marmot alarm calls he heard in the presence of a Golden Eagle. I hear the same piercing calls whenever there’s a dog approaching the riverside. Very effective warning, that!

    1. We drove through Kamloops last month on our way home from Whistler. What a spectacularly beautiful area! Had no time to stop and see the marmots…maybe next time.

  8. The squirrel in Banff photo is a Golden mantled ground squirrel.

    There are two very similar ground squirrels in Alberta, the Richardson’s in the prairies and the Columbian in the mountains. But although officially this one is also a ground squirrel, if you saw one in the flesh, you would identify it as a chipmunk, since it’s small for a ground squirrel and has chipmunk stripes on its sides. The classification between chipmunk- ground squirrel – prairie dog – ground hog – marmot is all a bit arbitrary

    My marmot story may upset the squeamish …

    Not so far away, on the summit of Moose Mountain in Kananaskis Country (where Brokeback Mountain was filmed) there lives a marmot.
    http://www.braggcreek.ca/kananaskis/trails/moosemtn.htm
    There is a fire lookout on the summit, it’s bleak and rocky, with virtually no vegetation, but a marmot lives there. It makes its appearance whenever someone uses the outhouse when it becomes unpleasantly obvious what it uses for sustenance

  9. There may have been some traces of sweat on the lens (or the lens cleaner may have had a sodium compound in it): the high country is a “salt-poor” environment- I’ve heard of porcupines chewing up gloves and tool handles for the salt in them.

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