Marmot Day is a holiday that’s observed only in Alaska and celebrates an animal that’s important to Alaskan culture: the Alaskan marmot. What’s a marmot? It’s a large ground squirrel in the genus Marmota. These creatures are well adapted to digging and have incisors that can process all kinds of different plants.
They have a total length of about 17-28 inches and weigh about 4.5 pounds on average. By recognizing this animal, the state of Alaska has created a tradition that speaks to traditional values and can be observed by future generations. This day is observed annually on the 2nd of February every year.
The History Of Marmot Day
This holiday was passed by Alaska’s 26th legislature in Senate Bill 58 which was sponsored by State Senator Linda Menard. This bill was originally introduced by her late husband, who was concerned that the folk values of Alaska had been slowly declining over the past few years. Although it had originally got stuck in committee, it would eventually pass and it’s been observed every since.
Some Cool Facts About Marmot
Most people outside of Alaska probably haven’t heard of these large ground squirrels. That’s okay, the first time we heard about them was when we started researching this holiday. That’s why we’ve decided to go ahead and list some of the facts that we’ve learned about marmots and would like to now share with everyone reading today.
- Marmota flaviventris is the scientific name of the marmot.
- John James Audubon and John Bachman were the first to describe the marmot in 1841.
- A male marmot’s territory covers approximately 5 to 7 acres.
- Approximately 80% of the marmot’s life is spent underground.
- Marmots live in groups of 1 male and several females. There are several of these groups in each colony.
- Marmots can dig hibernation burrows as deep as 23 feet.
- Female marmots have litters of between 3-8 babies.
- The lifespan of a wild marmot is approximately 15 years.
Observing Marmot Day
This holiday is observed all across Alaska, mainly at the local level. People can also observe this holiday by learning more about marmots, buying marmot plush animals, or donating to organizations that protect these ground squirrels. Everyone is also encouraged to spread the word about this holiday using the hashtag #MarmotDay on social media.