They hide it well. So adorable, so jovial – but the marmot is an implacable foe. Who would have thought that a cuty tiny weeny little creature like that could be such an implacable foe?
Here's why the marmot is the génépi grower's worst nightmare...
Aborted tactics for defence
- Wire fence: "you do know we dig holes in the ground, right?"
- Scarecrow: "a fine meal, gourmet grade wood."
- Buried wire fence: "you're learning! But steel is no match for our teeth."
- Trap cage at the entrance of their burrow: "now that's naughty but… you do know we can dig more than one hole, right?"
- Electric fence: "eclectic what? Oh, you mean that tickling sensation? Yeah, it's nice."
- Ultrasound: "ultra what? Ha ha! No effect."
- Fill up their holes again: "you do know digging holes is pretty much our only hobby, right?"
- Shrill at me on a regular basis
- Break my concentration
- Rip through my innocent seedlings
- Dig in my flowerbeds even tough they have the whole mountain for themselves
- Scratch my flowerbeds without digging, purely to pull my plants up
- Sabotage my vehicle: to this day, they ate one petrol hose and one petrol gauge wire
But, but, but
Actually, I do like these marmots. They welcome me in the morning, notify my of the presence of all kinds of animals: fox, chamois, roe deer, golden eagle, griffon vulture or the extraordinary bearded vulture. Every year, I can see a new generation. The trusting younglings sometimes are only a metre away, spending hours playing and fighting. Then, they get fatter for the winter. By the end of September, the whistlings have stopped. Everything is quiet. Marmots have confined themselves in their burrows and will not come out till next April.
And of course, they make me laugh quite a bit. There was this marmot whose voice seemed to break and whose whistling was quite reminiscent of a beaten down kettle. Or this other one I caught confortably chilling in the backseat of my car...
Damage remains limited considering the size of my plantation. So I've finally accepted to live with them, peacefully. Well, hoping their numbers don't grow too high!