[Three Hundred Animals Contents]
Is a harmless inoffensive animal, and seems to bear enmity to no creature but the dog. He is caught in Savoy, and carried about in several countries for the amusement of the mob. When taken young this creature is easily tamed, and possesses great muscular strength and agility. He will often walk on his hinder legs, and uses his fore paws to feed himself, like the squirrel. The Marmot makes his hole very deep, and in the form of the letter Y, one of the branches serving as an avenue to the innermost apartment, and the other sloping downwards as a kind of sink or drain; in this safe retreat he sleeps the whole of winter, and if discovered may be killed without appearing to undergo any great pain. These animals produce but once a year and bring forth three or four at a time.
“Who taught the Marmot softly to bestrew
His winter-cell with downy leaves, with wool
Left on the bush by rambling flocks, and plumes
Dropt from the breast of moulting pelicans;
And, provident, to hoard the prickly nuts
Of tempest-beaten trees; there long to sleep
Or muse in gentle slumbers, while the blast
And pelting storm, in raging mood, resound
And shake the rocky piles from their high tops
Down to the frighten’d vales below?