Marmot takes 1,250-mile trip to MN in car's undercarriage

The critter's harrowing journey began in Silverton, Colorado.
Wounded marmot

A yellow-bellied marmot is recuperating at a Minnesota animal rehab facility after taking a long, dangerous and unlikely journey across half the country.

On Friday, the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota (WRC) shared a Facebook post documenting their efforts to treat the rodent, which crawled into the wheel well of vehicle in Silverton, Colorado, and "tenaciously clung" to the undercarriage for 1,250 miles:

"That, my friends, is perseverance," wrote WRC. However, the animal suffered significant injuries as a result of its harrowing ride.

"She's emaciated from five days without food or water (amazing she was strong enough to cling to the car), has some burns and abscesses on her, and oddly has a mild case of lead toxicity," WRC said. 

The rodent is currently in critical care being treated for her wounds.

As WRC notes, it's a bit of a mystery how she ended up in an undercarriage, but it's suspected she "climbed into the vehicle while it was parked at a trailhead" in Colorado, possibly to seek shelter after "a tangle with some other animal."

Once the marmot's condition is stable, WRC plans to transfer her to another wildlife hospital, with the ultimate goal being her release "back to her home territory."

The rehabilitation center called it a "once-in-a-lifetime" case.

Yellow-bellied marmots are large ground squirrels that go by several different names, such as woodchuck, groundhog or whistle pig.

And the one currently rehabilitating at WRC is way out of its territory. As the Washington NatureMapping program notes, the animals are indigenous to southwestern Canada throughout the western United States, including the rockies and Sierra Nevada mountains.

Next Up

Gisela Medina Sherburne County Jail - 2021.09.23 - crop 2

19-year-old charged alongside Anton Lazzaro pleads not guilty

She's accused of helping the GOP operative traffic underage girls.

Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook misses Vikings practice on Friday

Cook suffered an ankle injury during the Cardinals game.

GetMedia (1)

Gallery: Historic church renovated into home is yours for $248,000

The church-turned-home offers an open floor plan in the heart of Howard Lake.

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen  - YouTube screengrab

MN GOP Rep. spreads voted fraud disinformation, draws rebuke from SoS

The lawmaker cited a video claiming there are more than 1.2 million "missing" votes.

st. paul shooting

Witnesses help identify suspect in St. Paul shooting

The shooting happened near a gas station and bus shelter Thursday just before 1 p.m.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, September 24

The next update will be issued on Monday and include data reported on Friday.


Man, 24, fatally struck by semi backing onto highway in western MN

The victim was from Waite Park, the State Patrol says.

clean energy solar panels

Climate change: What experts say you should lobby your politicians about

Collective action is required to achieve the scale of change that's needed.

derek chauvin

Derek Chauvin is appealing his conviction of murdering George Floyd

He's representing himself because he doesn't have money to hire an attorney.

James Blue

Murder charges filed in crash that killed Mack Motzko, Sam Schuneman

The 51-year-old Orono man is accused of being drunk and driving nearly 100 mph.

Aleksandre Sambelashvili

Golden Valley man found guilty of 2019 bar murder of Medtronic employee

Erik Kravchuk was convicted in Hennepin County Court Thursday.

Kyle Rudolph

Rudolph slams media that took his Zimmer comment out of context

The Giants tight end made some interesting comments during an interview.


Wounded marmot

Marmot's courageous 1,250-mile journey to MN sadly ends in death

The member of the squirrel family clung to a vehicle from Colorado to Minnesota.

Pine County sheriff - Nuts in squad car - Facebook

Officer discovers squirrel's nut collection in back of squad car

That's a well-prepared — and sneaky — gray squirrel.

Black bear cub.

K9 deputies rescue a bear cub in northern Minnesota

The little fella was eventually taken to a wildlife rehab.

Escaped wolf found.

Last of MN wildlife center's missing wolves found alive

Gigantor was one of four wolves that escaped last month.

Flickr - Blue Jay healthy feeder - USFWS Midwest Region

As mystery illness spreads, should Minnesotans take down bird feeders?

The unexplained ailment has resulted in bird die-offs in the eastern U.S.

Brent Cizek - great gray owl video screengrab

MN photographer's wintry great gray owl video earns praise from Audubon Society

The clip received an honorable mention in the 2021 Audubon Photography Awards.