Do you have yellow bellied marmots or more scientifically Marmota flaviventris? That’s highfalutin technical talk for rock chucks. Do you have rock chucks in the yard? Are there rock chucks in your rocks? Are those rock chucks just rockin’ your life? They don’t make good pets. They are not good eating. They are very good at making holes and destroying your vegetation.
Rock chucks are a common rodent found in Idaho. They weigh in around 8.2 lbs. on average, but males can get up to 11.5 lbs. Their nicknames can be confusing. In some areas they are called “whistle pigs” however, the Idaho Fish & Game Department has designated the Piute ground squirrel as Idaho’s “whistle pig”. Sometimes they are called “potgut” because of their pot belly appearance. Regardless of what they are called, rock chucks are relatively benign pests and are primarily herbivores, although they will eat an occasional grasshopper when available.
Most rock chucks live in colonies as opposed to the solitary wood chuck of the Midwest and Eastern United States. Colonies may include as many as 20 individuals. They are very shy and when threatened they whistle to warn their buddies, then scurry underground. Rock chucks spend about 80% of their life underground. They surface around late April to early June to enjoy their favorite grasses, then return again to their burrows. They hibernate through most of the year, which may have something to do with their portly appearance since they do not move far from their burrow and are only found eating when they are not laying around underground.
Blog courtesy of Alvin of Barrier Pest Control