The Trixie Marmot?

An Olympic marmot sits in a meadow in Olympic National Park

Looking back at these Olympic marmot pictures I was struck by how they resemble our tortoiseshell cat, Trixie. In cats the mixed brown & black fur pattern can occur in females (or rarely in males with two XX chromosomes) where the primary color varies randomly from cell to cell, but in the marmots I think their coats are changing from light brown early in the season to dark brown near the end, and the marmots I saw on this occasion in the fall were in the process of transition.


The Olympic Marmot

I saw at least four species for the first time on my Washington trip, three of them mammals and two of them marmots. In addition to the hoary marmots I saw at Mount Rainier, I was lucky enough to see Olympic marmots in Olympic National Park, one of the species that is unique to the peninsula. I expected to see them in rock formations along the trails in the Grand and Badger Valleys but neither saw or heard them. I did see a couple on the road between Obstruction Point and Hurricane Ridge, I would have missed them if a friend hadn’t seen them there on an earlier visit. The road is quite narrow with occasional steep dropoffs and made me more nervous than any of the trails I hiked, but in this particular location there was enough room to park on one side of the road and be clearly visible to traffic from both directions.