September 17, 2011

Marmot in Mongolia

For Camera Critters and Scenic Sunday, I am taking you back up into the vast alpine belt of the far western Mongolian province of Hovd. There in the desolate wilderness we did not see many wild animals. 

So when our driver Magsar spotted this furry ball, he stopped the van and went out for a closer look. 

 Mongolia, 2007

What his keen eye had seen is this little creature. 


It's a marmot, a Mongolian marmot, a rodent species closely related to the squirrel and groundhog. Marmots live in mountainous areas, eat mainly greens and hibernate in burrows through the long winters. This chubby little fella looks pretty well satiated to me, don't you agree?


A final piece of trivia: Marmots are hunted during a designated season - usually late summer or early fall when their furs are perfect - and are roasted on an open fire with hot stones in the cleaned belly to cook it inside and out. You can read about boodog, this Mongolian cooking style, in gory detail here.

32 comments:

Jo said...

I know that fur is beautiful,I am a meat eater and hubby is hunter,as a matter fact he is gone hunting venison right now,but I don't know if I could eat boodog,teehehehe.
I'm newest follower!
Happy to meet you!
~Jo

Lesley said...

Marmots are adorable looking creatures. And he has a nice coloured fur, which I guess helps him to blend in with his surroundings, since there is not much in the way of hiding places unless he starts burrowing.

Birdman said...

Yup! Looks like the groundhogs that attempt to attack my garden. Cwazzzy varmint.

jabblog said...

Having read the recipe boodog doesn't sound very appetising! No wonder so much vodka is consumed - I'm sure it deadens the palate;-)

Sue said...

Makes me kinda glad I'm not a marmot!

;)

PS. And the poem is just fine. Hope you win some converts to losing that annoying word verification!

eileeninmd said...

Your marmot has a beautiful coat. It looks prettier than the groundhogs I see in my yard. Great shots. Have a wonderful weekend!

joo said...

So cute little creature!
Have a nice weekend:)

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

Great and unusual photo.

Darryl and Ruth :)

Cheryl said...

What a gorgeous animal. It's really a shame they're hunted but I do understand the need for people to eat and thinning the herd. Still breaks my heart.

Andrea said...

It's one animal i just learned today, and it is eaten?

Ms. Becky said...

I can see the resemblence to both the squirrel and the groundhog. he's a cutie, not sure I'd want to eat him. your first shot is gorgeous! happy weekend to you Francisca.

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Sad that these beautiful animals are hunted.
Excellent photos.

Regards and best wishes

Jidhu Jose said...

nice shots and first time i a m seeing that creature

emzkie said...

thats a fine creature! it makes me sad that they would hunt them down for their fur =(

My Photo Meme Blog

Jacob said...

Not gonna eat one, no matter what! Cute little critter. That certainly is a desolate area.

Nice to hear from you. Out with knee surgery after a fall on a golf course in Tennessee...but am recovering - slowly! :-)

jennyfreckles said...

It seems amazing that anything can survive in that vast empty area, let alone something so cute.

Halcyon said...

What an interesting find! Not an animal I'd expect to see in the desert.

Pat Tillett said...

I don't want to eat that thing, I want it curled up on my lap purring. I know, I know...

Pat Tillett said...

I just went to the link. Those illustrations get right to the point!

Kay L. Davies said...

I used to see lots of marmots in the BC interior when I was out walking my little dog. I don't think I'd want to eat one, but we have far more grocery stores in Canada than they have in Mongolia.
Sigh.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Evelyn said...

Cute little guy. I hope this one doesn't end its life being roasted :(

ladyfi said...

What a lovely furry ball of a critter. Hope he manages to survive the hunting season.

Emille said...

That's an out of the way place for a vacation, Francesca:):)
Don't know if I could eat this little animal.

Indrani said...

Such a beautiful creature, can't think of killing it.

Dina said...

Wow, one little animal in that vast empty scene!

Once I took the cog railway 2000 meters up to Rochers-de-Naye, an imposing rock formation above Montreux, Switzerland. And way on top was the Marmot Paradise! You could see them in glass-sided burrows and hear their shrill calls on the mountains.
BTW, they also have Mongolian yurts up there for overnights.
http://www.wanderland.ch/en/orte_detail.cfm?id=315407

And I'm curious what parts you found perplexing in the monk movie.

sarah said...

It's interesting there is a chubby animal in such a deserted place.I didn't know about a marmot well. Mongolian need protein but...
Anyway I'm amazed you went so far western Mongolia.
Thank you for sharing a chubby creature.

Vicki/Jake said...

Not sure I'll go see the gore today...but wanted to say how lonely he looks out in all that vastness. And how glad I am that you share all this stuff:)

tapirgal said...

I love its color! What a cutie. Nice pix!

EG Wow said...

It looks too cute to eat! :)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Cute little fella -- and yeah he does look quite well fed. I think I'll skip the link. Just getting ready to cook a veggie dinner and don't want to feel deprived ;>)

Ebie said...

Nice color of the fur, makes a fine boa, maybe?

I see it could curl like a round ball.

JM said...

What a great spotting! But why didn't the marmot run away? Any idea?