Out of their burrow in the spring, marmots roam all over the place until late fall. The largest member of the squirrel family, the marmot is approximately the size of an overweight housecat, but has shorter legs.
There are a number of resident marmots on the property. There are a dozen or so that live just east of the vineyard’s fence, and another 3 or 4 that live by the house.
Contrary to popular belief, Marmots feed on weeds, which is why they are welcome in the vineyard. However, their tastes can run to the unexpected.
This year, one young marmot has decided to eat our doormats. These are rubber backed coco mats, and obviously, the coco part is tasty to that particular marmot, and it carefully leaves the bit of rubber backing behind. Now two of our doormats are chewed around the edges. Just yesterday, I had to prevent the marmot from pulling one of the doormats away from the door with the clear intention of taking it to its home at the bottom of the driveway… An altercation ensued as I stopped the marmot. Seeing I was upset, it moved a couple of feet away and stared at me wearing an expression of complete innocence.
The next morning, Ben came to the house for something or other. As I walked up, we both heard a kafuffle by the front door and looked to see the marmot dragging the doormat once more. The marmot dropped the doormat as Ben went after it and started chasing it around one of the cars. The marmot promptly took this to be a game, and around the car they went. The marmot keeping an eye on Ben’s feet, reversing course around the car as he did. Ben would sneak one way; the marmot would sneak the other way, playing “Catch me if you can”. This lasted a couple of minutes, then Ben gave up and the marmot ran, belly to the ground, back to sit on top of its rock at the bottom of the driveway.
The next morning, our doormat had gotten even smaller … I don’t think we’ll win this one.