They seem playful and adorable – but marmots are a force to be reckoned with. Who would have thought that such cute little animals could be such relentless foes?
Let us explain why marmots are the génépi grower's bane.
Failed Defensive Tactics
- Wire fence: They dug under it
- Scarecrow: They ate it all the way to the knees
- Buried wire fence: They cut through it
- Traps placed in front of their burrow's exit: They use an emergency exit or they dig another hole
- Electric fence: Apparently, their thick fur is a very bad conductor
- Ultrasound: Ha ha! No effect
- Fill up their holes again: They think it's some kind of game (they really love digging)
- Whistle loudly and repeatedly in my ears
- Break my concentration
- Scratch innocent seedbeds
- Dig holes right in the middle of my beds when they could go just about anywhere else on the mountain
- Scratch my beds just for the heck of it
- Sabotage my car. To their credit so far: one fuel hose and one fuel gauge wire
Well, Yes, But…
Actually, I'm quite fond of marmots. They greet me in the morning, they alert me of the presence of many different kinds of animals – fox, chamois, roe deer, golden eagle, griffon vulture or the magnificent bearded vulture. I can see new generations each year. The young ones are much bolder and sometimes come quite close. They spend hours bickering and fighting. Later in the season, I see them getting fatter for the winter. Come late September, all is silent. Marmots have buried themselves in their burrows and won't come out before early April.
Besides, they can be really funny. There was this one marmot whose voice seemed to be breaking. Its whistles sounded more like a broken teapot than a marmot. And I have caught one sat snugly in the back seat of my car.
The damage they cause is limited in relation to the size of my cultivation. So I have come to terms with this and I have accepted this cohabitation of sorts. Still, I hope their population won't increase too much!