Every Day Is Groundhog Day in the Golden State

Punxsutawney Phil is famous, for sure, but California's got some major marmot marvelousness of its own.

Alice Cahill

What to Know

  • The Mineral King area in Sequoia National Park is billed as "Marmot Country" on the NPS site
  • Photos and videos of marmots visiting some of Yosemite National Park's highest peaks have gone viral
  • If you see a marmot or any wildlife in the parks, please give the animal wide berth

COME THE SECOND DAY OF FEBRUARY, each and every year? An adorable ambassador of seasonal prognostication makes a much-anticipated return, all to let us know when we can expect spring to begin. It's a huge mantle for a little 'hog to wear, but Punxsutawney Phil, the world's best-known marmot meteorologist, is always up to the task of seeing his shadow (or not). And while we wouldn't want to compete with the Pennsylvania-based superstar, spotlighting the furry fact that California is home to groundhogian fauna seems like a fine and factual thing to do come Feb. 2, or, really, any day of the year. Marmots don't own calendars, after all, and you just might see the charming, roly-poly animals while hiking in the Sierra Nevada, whatever day you're there.

FOR THE DIMUNITIVE BEASTIES... do call Yosemite National Park and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks home, meaning you may come across one while on a nature stroll (or, yes, in or around your car, for they have been known to snack on radiator hoses and other essential parts). If you do spy a yellow-bellied marmot while calling upon a high meadow or Half Dome, give the critter plenty of clearance, as you would with any other national park denizen, be they antlered, winged, or rocking some notably big teeth. (One could also say that the marmot has "gnaw"-tably big teeth, if one felt so inclined.) You can sometimes spot them on the parks' live cams, and they're featured in this Yosemite Conservancy "Caught on Camera" compilation, along with bears, big cats, and the other animals that call the national park home.

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