Image of the face of an inquisitive marmot

Marmots are the largest members of the squirrel family and occasional chewers of boots, backpack straps, hiking pole grips, and radiator hoses.

NPS Photo


You Are Entering Marmot Country

Each spring and early summer until mid-July, the marmots of Mineral King have been known to dine on radiator hoses and car wiring. They can disable a vehicle. On several occasions, marmots have not escaped the engine compartment quickly enough and unsuspecting drivers have given them rides to other parts of the parks; several have ridden as far as southern California!

How can you protect your vehicle and marmots?

-Wash the outside, undercarriage, and engine compartment of your vehicle before visiting.

-Various means, including wrapping a trap around the entire vehicle completely covering the wheel wells, and leaving vehicle hoods popped open, are used in an attempt to keep marmots from damaging vehicles.

-Wrapping chicken wire around the vehicle is no longer advised, as marmots have found a way to defeat this method.

-Use only non-toxic methods to prevent marmots from accessing your vehicle. Do not use any poison or substance that would pose a risk to the environment, human or animal health, safety or property.

- If you visit Mineral King especially before mid-July. Check for possible damage before starting your vehicle. Look under the hood for marmots or signs of chewing. Check hoses, belts, electrical wiring, insulation, and radiator fluid level. Inspect under the vehicle for sings of coolant or brake fluid leakage.

-Turn key to “on”, but do not start your vehicle. Check that all indicator lights come on. If lights don’t come on, wiring may have been damaged.

-Start the engine and listen for unusual sounds.

-Report any damage to your vehicle.

Note: The National Park Service, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is NOT responsible for damage caused by marmots. Our suggestions for protecting your vehicle may not prevent damage from marmots.

Car covered by tarp

Rangers recommend using tarps that cover the wheel wells from early Spring to mid-July.

NPS/Jennifer Swacina

Wrapping vehicle in chicken wire is no longer advised.

Did You Know?