Marmots

A trip to observe high altitude species of High Tatra Mountains

The High Tatras or High Tatra Mountains are the smallest alpine type mountain range on the planet with a unique endemic fauna. Among these, one of the most prominent example is Tatra alpine marmot.

The Tatra alpine marmot (Marmota marmota latirostris) is an endemic subspecies of the Alpine marmot (Marmota marmota). This rodent lives mostly in the area of high altitude clearings and open alpine meadows with rock debris above dwarf mountain pine zone. Their colonies consist of 5 to 15 individuals. It is a stocky rodent of 42 to 84 cm (without tail) in length and weighs up to 8 kg (especially in late autumn when preparing for hibernation). Marmots live in dens excavated using their powerful legs with strong claws. Their senses are well developed, especially sight, hearing, and smell. In case of danger, marmots warn their neighbouring area by their typical piercing whistles. Their diet consists of alpine vegetation. Among their predators, there are eagles, foxes and lynxes. Marmots can live up to 15 years.

Ticha dolina Jan Dobsovic panorama

characteristics: Our trip will take us to Tatra National Park (TANAP). The oldes national park in Slovakia, established in 1949, protects the area or Slovakia’s highest mountain range – High Tatra Mountains, which is also the highest part of Carpathian Mountain Range. We will be situated at the altitude of approx. 1250 m, walking in spruce tree, alpine pine and alpine meadow level. Because many parts of the Park suffered from 2004 tempest, we will, between marmot observation, talk also about broader ecological relations of TANAP’s nature.

points of interest of the area: glacial relief, waterfalls, glacial lakes, calamity area

protected areas visited: Tatra National Park, Protected bird sanctuary Tatras

target species: mammals: Tatra alpine marmot (Marmota marmota latirostris), Tatra chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica), red deer (Cervus elaphus), fallow deer (Capreolus capreolus), red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), area also provides sanctuary for red fox (Vulpes vulpes), gray wolf (Canis lupus), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) and brown bear (Ursus arctos)

birds: golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), common buzzard (Buteo buteo), black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus), grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea), water pipit (Anthus spinoletta), white-throated dipper (Cinclus cinclus), Eurasian wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), dunnock (Prunella modularis), alpine accentor (Prunella collaris), robin (Erithacus rubecula), goldcrest (Regulus regulus), common firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus), coal tit (Parus ater), European crested tit (Parus cristatus), willow tit (Parus montanus), Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius), Eurasian nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes), common siskin (Carduelis spinus), red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)

Trip duration: 1 day

Difficulty: difficult

Route is difficult one with length of maximum 17 km and superelevation of maximum 1100 m. It will lead on walking paths throughout the whole time. Trip may be adjusted according to snow thickness and actual animal occurrence.

Important notifications and conditions: Participants undertake the trip at their own risk. Tour operator does not provide participants with specific tourist insurance. Tour operator provides professional guiding and gear to observe marmots and others. Marmots will be observed only from, or close to, footpaths. Because of their conservation status (endangered species), it is very important NOT to disturb them beyond a very limited level. We do not recommend participants to be accompanied by children below 10 and/or dogs.

Required accessories: warm clothes, food and drinks for the entire trip, ideally also own binoculars and/or camera

Recommended tour date: 1/2 May – 1/2 October

Price per person with English speaking guide:

110,-€ / 1 participant

65,-€ / 2 participants

55,-€ / 3 – 4 participants

45,-€ / 5 – 7 participants

35,-€ / 8 – 10 participants

Price includes: full guiding service, binoculars, spotting scope

Price does NOT include: food, individual travel insurance

If you are interested in this trip, please don’t hesitate to contact us, either by email to info@watching.sk or give us a call at +421 948 495 111. We can then discuss the date that suits your needs the best.

Genereal terms and conditions