Meet Rudy, December’s Marmot of the Month. Are we going stretch to make a holiday theme by suggesting “Rudy” is short for “Rudolph”? You bet we are!
Aside from his name, Rudy resembles Rudolph in a three important ways.
First, there are, mysteriously, no photos of Rudy. We had him in hand one time back in 2016, and we’ve seen glimpses and signs, but he has deftly evaded all our camera traps! That sounds familiar….
Second, his name breaks the rhyming scheme of all his kin. At Rudy’s home on Moriarty Mountain, all the marmots names rhyme with “Forest”. There’s Rudy’s suspected mate Chloris, not to mention Morris, Horris, Borris, and Dolores. (Why the rhyming name scheme? The Field Crew gave them these names to irritate Don, our retired Field Coordinator, who felt that marmot names shouldn’t sound too similar. You see what we’re dealing with?)
Third, Rudy is definitely showing the way for his species. He may not have a red-nose, but we strongly suspect that he and Chloris have been busy making pups at Moriarty, which is one of the most successful Vancouver Island marmot colonies. More than that, Moriarty is a particularly steep, rugged site, and Rudy excels at climbing in the cliffs, showing his pups and the other marmots how to stay safe from predators!
Right now, Rudy is hibernating. His burrow, more than 2 meters underground, is safe and dry, unaffected by yesterday’s storm. We look forward to seeing him again next spring though!
Happy holidays everyone!
This is not Rudy, but an untagged marmot mom and one of her pups earlier this year at Moriarty.
That cliff and the steep bowl below is Rudy’s home. Not an easy place to get into!