Seeing the Groundhog

Hoary Marmot, Mt. Rainier, Washington

Hoary Marmot, Mt. Rainier, Washington

The old folk tale about seeing the groundhog’s shadow today is probably going to live on forever.  That might have something to do with the family they’re in, the Marmots, that have been written about since the 5th Century B.C.


Marmots are North America’s largest squirrels with large heads, bushy tails, and strong claws on the front feet for digging.  They use burrows to hibernate, and raise and protect their young.


Mt. Rainier stream

Mt. Rainier stream

There are many different species of marmots in several continents across the world.  Click here to see various marmot species.  We came across the hoary marmot, photographed here, while hiking in the meadows of Mount Rainier in Washington State.  They use the rocks and boulders for their hibernation dens.


Other marmots, like the groundhogs, live across the eastern United States and Canada and prefer open, lowland areas.  To read more about today’s famous groundhog, click here.


Mt. Rainier is one of my favorite mountains in the world, and sometime I will tell you more about it.  Add to that the frolicking hoary marmots with their shaggy hair and non-threatening nature…and it’s a party.



Photo credit:  Athena Alexander




16 thoughts on “Seeing the Groundhog

  1. I wish you could be in charge of “Hoary Marmot Day,” Jet, instead of all the silly goings-on of Groundhog Day. Enjoyed your post.

    • This comment made me smile, Nan. That shadow business is a bit outdated with global warming, so I thought a little info about the marmots would be more interesting. Very glad you enjoyed it, dear Nan. Thank you! 😀

  2. There are, or used to be, Marmots in the Swiss mountains. I longed to see one, but only got a postcard of one! RH [I was going to suggest ‘Shaggy Marmot Day’ but there might be a certification issue]

    • They’re not always easy to see because they disappear pretty quickly into their burrows. I’ve had to buy a postcard, too, on occasion, of some creature I wanted to but never did see. Glad to hear about the Swiss Alps, RH. You certainly have been all over the world. 🙂

  3. Hi dear Jet ! I had read about “This Day In History – Feb 2, 1887: First Groundhog Day,in a NASA article saying that on this day in 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania etc… and what’s going on according to tradition,its roots and all about the weather connections …
    Here,in your lovely post,I had the chance to read about groundhog’s life and see a Hoary Marmot peacefully resting on a boulder in your favourite mountain.Moreover,I loved the photo of the stream in Mt. Rainier and the arrangenment of the stones around the little beautiful plants;looks as if somebody placed them there to present Stone Art … Have a beautiful day my friend 🙂 xxx

    • I am delighted and honored, Doda, that you looked up the American Groundhog Day history, and were inspired to learn about this. And I am really happy you enjoyed the short trip to Mt. Rainier. Those mountain streams and alpine meadows are really so glorious, especially in spring when all the wildflowers come out. Although it is only 50 miles from Seattle, it is a rare treat to see the mtn from Seattle due to fog. Sometime I will do a separate post just on this beautiful mountain. I hope your day is going really well today, dear Doda. 😀 😀

  4. Yeah,dear Jet,I read that you plan to do a post on this beautiful mountain and I completely forgot to mention in my comment that I’m looking forward to reading it.Indeed,if I judge from the gorgeous stream photo,we’re talking about alpine beauty … this little yellowish-white wildflowers look like edelweiss flowers.Have a wonderful day 🙂 xxx

    • Yes, it’s a special mtn from the air too. Many people on the west U.S. coast fly past Mt. Rainier from California to the north, and we all avidly wait when we get close to Seattle, hoping we will see the majestic Rainier from our airplane window. I see Rainier more frequently from the air than from the ground! Stay tuned for more, my dear friend Doda! 😀

  5. On Groundhog Day, Jimmy, the “official” groundhog of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, not only saw his shadow, forcasting six more weeks of winter, he also bit the ear of the town Mayor during the ceremony for good measure. Talk about adding injury to insult! I call it the last great act of defiance.

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