By Jamie Leary

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4)– It was never intended to be a rescue mission but when a Wheat Ridge family discovered they had a marmot living in their backyard, they decided to take action. The Heaton family decided they were going to help the marmot get back home.

(credit: Chris Heaton)

“So we set up some traps, we added a camera to kind of see where he’s coming from,” said Chris Heaton.

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Chris Heaton doesn’t know how long the marmot has been hanging out, but thanks to a recently installed camera, he and his wife Kayla know what the marmot has been up to. The little guy has been making himself at home in the chicken coop.

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“I mean, for like 40 minutes in a row he just sits there at the feeder and eats constantly so…” laughed Kayla.

(credit: CBS)

The couple, with a newborn in tow, have plenty of mouths to feed without the marmot, but are happy to help.

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“I mean, if he wants to hang out here he’s welcome! I just don’t feel like it’s high enough elevation or cool enough!”

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife says that is the exact problem.

While it’s rare, every year around the Front Range, CPW says there are about a half dozen cases where a marmot hitches a ride into town. When this happens, CPW asks people to call animal control to pick the marmot up, then it arranges transportation back to the high alpine with members of its support team.

(credit: Chris Heaton)

With Heaton’s surveillance, they were able to confirm it was a yellow-bellied marmot but so far, it hasn’t shown any interest in the peanut butter they’ve placed in their live traps.

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“So far, we’ve caught a skunk, and some squirrels but no marmot,” laughed Chris.

(credit: Chris Heaton)

The Heaton’s know their efforts might seem excessive for a single marmot but they are committed.

(credit: Chris Heaton)

“Whistle pigs is what we always called them and just they’re kind of cute up in the rocks, so it’s just kind of wild to see them down here. So, we’ll be happy to get him back home.”

(credit: Chris Heaton)

CPW says while it’s only one marmot, its team of volunteers makes it possible to assist in the smallest of cases if an officer is tied up.

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It says when someone spots a marmot too far from home, it asks that they contact animal control to pick it up, then it arranges transportation back to the high alpine with members of the CPW transport team.

Jamie Leary

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