Nature Notes

Vol. II July 23, 1924 No. 6


The hoary marmot or as he is more often called, the "whistler" is found in great abundance in the Park on rock slides and among boulders from 3800 feet elevation to timberline and somewhat above. He is more often seen by visitors along the automobile road in the region of Narada Falls. Although a first cousin to the eastern woodchuck he is as large as an average badger with longer legs and a bushy tail. In color they run from light to dark brown with a lighter back. The older animals are almost white on the shoulders and back giving them an appearance of old age and also the name hoary. In appearance and habits they are very similar to the marmot of other western regions and also to the marmot of the Alps.

His clear penetrating whistle can well be classed among the best of the wild music of the mountains and the facility with which he traverses rock slides and steep slopes is astounding in such a heavy-bodied and awkward-appearing animal. He shows very little sign of fear when approached by man and the reposeful demeanor of the whistler as it sits quietly on some convienent rock as one approaches, gives little evidence of the struggle between curiosity and caution taking place within. During July the young appear with their parents and seating themselves upright on some handy boulder stare at the observer with a comical gravity. The precipitous walls, rock slides and boulder fields of Mount Rainier would be incomplete without the marmot and his shrill metallic whistle which can often be heard for a mile or more.


Billy, a young buck deer has been obtained from the Sportsmen's Show in Seattle for the Park and is now at Paradise Valley. Billy's presence is due to the courtesy of E. B. Palmer, Chairman of the King County Game Commission.

Billy is much tamer than the two elk at Longmire and an inveterate cigarette addict. Although willing to be an object of admiration resents too prolonged examinations with an emphatic kick.

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