We all remember the famous advert for chocolate wrapped in tinfoil, or the marmot from a famous TV channel who plays film extracts... The marmot, a wild animal reintroduced into Cantal, is appealing because of its sympathetic nature. How do you recognise it? Where can you see it? What behaviour should you adopt? Here are a few tips to help you spot marmots on the Cantal Volcano.

Everything there is to know about marmots

How to recognise a marmot

The marmot is a small animal measuring 57 to 90 cm, weighing 4 to 7 kg, which lives for around 15 to 18 years and gives birth to its young in June and July.

It can be recognised by its distinctive whistle, which is a warning signal in the event of danger. It also has large teeth to defend itself against its enemies.

Its behaviour and habits

The marmot hibernates from October to March/April in its cosy nest at the bottom of its burrow.

At the start of spring, it makes its first appearance outside. Now is the time to play, bask, sleep in the sun and build up new reserves in preparation for next winter!

Nevertheless, it remains vigilant: in the event of danger, it warns its companions with a more or less intense whistle, depending on the danger or the approaching enemy, and everyone returns to the shelter of the burrow.

How can you watch them while respecting their environment?

The best time to see them?

The best times are undoubtedly in the mornings or evenings, from spring to late summer.

Where can you see them?

Colonies of marmots are regularly seen at the foot of Puy Mary and towards the Plomb du Cantal. In general, when hiking in the mountains of the Massif, keep your eyes peeled and stay alert for a chance to see them!

Maximise your chances!

With a mountain guide! An expert in hiking and its related aspects, the guide will be able to show you how to observe this wildlife. 

It will be more difficult to spot them on your own. Nevertheless, here are a few tips to maximise your chances of success.

  • Go to the Puy Mary or Plomb du Cantal sectors, the preferred locations for marmot colonies,
  • Be patient and discreet during your outing,
  • Don’t forget your binoculars! They will help you to identify them clearly, which can sometimes be more difficult to do with the naked eye
  • Get up early or stay up late! In very hot weather, marmots stay cool in their burrows during the day, so plan your outing for early morning or at the end of the day.

And all of this with respect for the environment ...

Adopt the right attitude when heading out into the mountains:

  • Keep to the signposted paths
  • Avoid disturbing wild animals by remaining discreet and keeping your distance 
  • Pick up your litter

It’s up to you! 

Observation de la faune sauvage

Watching the wildlife

Marmotte dans le Cantal

Marmot in Cantal