The behavioural ecology of the Alpine marmot Marmota marmota (Linné, 1758) was studied Jun.—Sep. 1990 in the Vanoise National Park (French Alps). We describe the socio-spatial structure of a high-altitude population, to give additional information on the formerly unclear marmot social organization.
The social unit was the family group, with a common home range between 0.9 and 2.8 ha; a slight overlapping occurred (9 to 12.5%). Each home range had a central area of main burrows, where the hibernaculum was located, and peripheral areas.
Space utilization and distribution of activities during the season were analysed. Some activities took place exclusively in the centre area while peripheral parts were used for foraging. This latter increased in Aug. and decreased in Sep., marmots tending to remain more and more at the centre area as the hibernation period approached.