A marmot went on a 600-mile journey from the mountains of Colorado to the desert of Arizona.
The Arizona Game & Fish Department posted a video of the yellow-bellied marmot dubbed “Fork" on their Facebook page along with the animal's extraordinary (presumed accidental) journey. According to the post, the marmot hitched a ride from Crested Butte (CO) to Glendale (AZ), making a 600-mile road trip.
A Valley resident, who found the marmot, had never seen this type of animal before. Arizona wildlife officials stepped in to help after being contacted.
The marmot's ear was also tagged, leading biologists to discover that "Fork" is part of a 60-year marmot study conducted by the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory.
Arizona wildlife officials captured the marmot and transported her back to Colorado with the rest of the family, including her brother “Spoon."
Marmots are adapted to cold-climates, so she might not have survived the extreme summer heat of the Phoenix Valley, according to officials.
This isn't the first time this has happened, as several other known instances of marmots hitching a ride away from home have occurred in recent years. In June, a marmot was found at a steakhouse in the Denver metro area, far from their mountain home. Remember to always check your vehicle for potential tagalongs when leaving the mountains, especially if you're in a vehicle with accessible space, like a convertible or pick-up truck.
Editor's Note: Wild animals are unpredictable. If you encounter an animal that appears sick, injured, or in need of care, do not attempt to touch or pick it up. Instead, contact your nearest Colorado Parks and Wildlife office for help. For a list of region and area offices, click here.