Marmot with Burned Feet Takes Special Care

Learn About Patient #19-081

  • Birth: Unknown
  • Arrival: March 13, 2019
  • Injury: Burns
  • Gender: Female

OUCH! This poor girl burned her feet on a truck engine! This yellow-bellied marmot was brought in by the wildlife specialists with Medford’s Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service- Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest office. It took the staff a while to get her out from the engine compartment of a truck. She probably climbed up inside the engine looking for a warm place to sleep. Unfortunately, she ended up getting more than she bargained for.

She arrived March 13 and was treated immediately for some pretty angry looking burns on her feet. Exhausted from her rescue, it wasn’t until after her treatment that we learned she was going to need special care. When animals arrive at Wildlife Images the clinic staff is prepared for just about anything. Animals who are injured or fearful can act in a variety of ways. Some will cower, others will fight. Marmots typically live very quiet lives. Related to the woodchuck, this species will usually choose flight over fight. After Patient 19-081’s treatment, we saw her instincts click in. She wanted nothing to do with us or the care we were providing. Which is great because the last thing we want is for patients to get used to humans and seek them out. However, her need to flee does make treatment difficult. To help her stay as calm as possible and lower her stress level we take a hands-off approach. Patient 19-081 has been moved to quarantine so she has the peace and quiet she needs and we are able to make her treatments as efficient as possible so all the care she needs can be provided in just two visits a week.

Since this marmot is so skittish we first give her a medication to help her relax. This makes it easier for staff and, more importantly, for her. Each of her wounds is sanitized then treated with a special burn cream that helps prevent infection. We have seen improvement in her burns with just the first 3 treatments. She hasn’t been a big eater while in our care, but she has shown an affinity for dandelion greens and miners lettuce.

Marmots usually don’t visit the valley floor. This species can typically be found in higher elevations. They tend to hibernate through May but can sometimes wake up earlier depending on the elevation of their burrow.  While Patient 19-081’s injuries are our biggest concern we felt the pain when we learned the truck she was in was severely damaged. Apparently while hiding in the truck she chewed on wiring harnesses and other engine parts resulting in over $7,500 in damages.