Animal of the Week: What is a Whistle Pig?

If you live anywhere in the West, you’ve probably seen these  lumbering rodents that look like they’re sporting a beer gut and you may also have heard them.  Due to their loud chirping sound and robust belly, they’re known as whistle pigs, or marmots.

Last summer, we were hiking up at Alta and heard this amazing chep Chep CHEP sound.  Mark immediately knew it was a yellow bellied marmot and could spot it about a 500 yards away.  We started talking to it and it talked back.  It was up on it’s hind legs and just kept chepping away with us.  We must have had a ‘conversation’ with the marmot for a solid 10 minutes.  Even our daughter who was 1 1/2 at the time and very quiet started saying “chep, chep!”.  We have a video of this which I will post when I can find it.

Interesting marmot facts:

  • Marmots are found in mountainous areas in the West, the Alps, Pakistan, India and northwestern Asia
  • Marmots are vegetarians and are considered large ground squirrels
  • As of last year, Alaska celebrates February 2 as “Marmot Day”, a holiday intended to take the place of Groundhog Day and observe the abundance of marmots in that state.
  • Marmots have been eaten for centuries as part of the cuisine of Mongolia where they hunt for them during the season the marmots are particularly fat (that seems every season to me!)
  • When marmots hibernate, they don’t keep their body temperature down all winter, but instead wake up every week or so(probably to get a snack!) and then go back to sleep
  • Due to their loud chirping sound, the yellow bellied marmots are nicknamed Whistle Pigs
  • People who study marmots or woodchucks are called marmoteers
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About Laurie Noble

As head of her own corporate communications and public relations company, Laurie Carter Noble has had extensive experience in creating successful marketing strategies. She has drawn on this expertise in her real estate career and has found it invaluable in helping clients create successful marketing strategies for selling their homes. Giving clients marketing plans targeted to their specific needs and highlighting the unique qualities of their homes is one of the services Laurie provides to those who list their homes with her. Having moved a family several times herself, with the help of her husband Richard, she is aware of the special needs of the buyer relocating to a new home. Through careful research and a thorough knowledge of the Boston market, Laurie successfully matches prospective buyers to a home suited to their needs. Her guidance is available through every aspect of the purchasing transaction, whether it is helping to secure financing, having the home inspected or making temporary housing arrangements, should that be required. With her husband, Richard, Laurie has developed and managed a series of properties. She has extensive experiences dealing with investment properties and using them effectively to create income. A cum laude graduate of Syracuse University, Laurie received her B.A. in English Literature and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She also holds an M.S. in Secondary Education and an M.A. in English from Villanova University. A fluent speaker of German, Laurie studied German literature at the Yale University Graduate School and at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. She also is fluent in French, which she studied at the University of Strasbourg, France. For many years she was a member of the English Department at Villanova University. Laurie is committed to serving the community in which she lives. She has done pro bono work for agencies that work for social justice in Boston. Issues of women's and children's welfare are of particular concern to her and she has written on those issues for newspapers and magazines in the Boston area. She is a tour guide for the Mayo House, a historic house owned by the Chatham Conservation Society and is also a pro bono marketing consultant for the Harwich Junior Theater, promoting artistic opportunities for children all over Cape Cod. Recently Laurie completed a major marketing portfolio, pro bono, for COGdesign, a non-profit Boston based organization dedicated to helping urban communities create beautiful inner city green spaces. While a member of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, she was active in the Women’s Network and served on the Education Committee. She has lived in Boston’s Back Bay for almost 20 years and is a member of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay. Laurie and Richard have two daughters.
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