GUEST COMMENTARY | Marmot Hitchhikes to Olathe

OLATHE BOUND - This marmot hitchhiked a ride from Telluride to Olathe recently. (Courtesy photo)

OLATHE BOUND – This marmot hitchhiked a ride from Telluride to Olathe recently. (Courtesy photo)

Recently, a very young, inquisitive little marmot hitched a ride from the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office, near Telluride, to a residence east of Olathe.   Someone was working at the sheriff’s office recently, parking their vehicle in the back lot.  Unbeknownst to the driver, the marmot climbed up into the vehicle, probably the engine compartment, and made the long hot trip of over 70 miles.

The people who found the marmot heard a ruckus in the house, and found the little one sitting in the sun on the window sill in a bedroom.  They caught the marmot by putting some food in an animal carrier, and took it outside and released it. The marmot kept coming back through the cat door into the house. They called Colorado Parks and Wildlife, but were told to leave it alone. They called Tina Mayer of Critter Getter, who came that evening to capture it. Tina took it immediately to me, at Roubideau Rim Wildlife Rescue. Both Tina and I advised the couple that marmots don’t live in the adobes, so something is amiss with the marmot’s being there, but that many times marmots get up into vehicles, and end up somewhere else.

The couple called me at 8:15 a.m. Saturday morning July 26, very excited to tell me what they thought happened in regards to the marmot: Their son had been working at the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office earlier in the week. That night he came to their home straightaway from work, and parked around back of the house. She found where something bedded down, around the roots of a big tree just feet from where he had parked his car, and the cat door into the house is right near where their son had parked.

The little yellow-bellied marmot was released several miles from the San Miguel Sheriff’s Office.  Thanks to Tina Mayer of Critter Getter for transporting, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife Volunteer Jennifer Dewey for transporting the marmot to the release site and letting it go back to freedom.

Marmots are vegetarians, but they have been known to eat some bugs. They hibernate in winter, and live at the higher elevations.  Yellow-bellied marmots are very social creatures, living in colonies amongst rocky areas.   They are a wild animal, and just want to be left alone to live their lives in freedom.  If you live in an area where marmots are getting into your vehicle and chewing on wires, you can attach screening underneath your vehicle. Some people even have it welded on. Also, put your vehicle in a garage when it’s not in use, and make sure the doors and windows of the building are closed.

Wildlife rehabilitation in Colorado is all-volunteer. Roubideau Rim Wildlife Rescue, 501c3 continues to search for a donation of land, or a long-term lease, to build a wildlife rehabilitation facility. Anonymous, tax deductible donations can be made to: Vectra Bank, 1200 S. Townsend, Montrose,CO 81401. Checks can be mailed directly to: RRWR at POBox 750, Olathe,CO. 81425. For more information, see the facebook page at: We are currently in need of funds and materials to build a 100 x 40 x 20 ft. flight cage for raptors.   RRWR can be reached by phone at: 970/209-5946 or email:

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