Procrastinating prognosticator

PHOTO BY MATT BARTMANN Yellow-bellied marmot in the Roosevelt National Forest, Larimer County.

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Early spring or 6 more weeks of winter? Don’t ask a marmot!

Instead of basking in the spotlight on February 2 like famed Punxsutawney Phil, the yellow-bellied marmot, our western relative of the groundhog, stays safely tucked away in its cozy hibernation quarters (probably watching “Groundhog Day”) until April or May, when it’s spring for sure.

Hibernation is a survival strategy to get through winter, and yellow-bellied marmots spend about 7 months of the year—more than 60% of their lives!—snoring away.