Hitchhiking is illegal, but try telling that to a marmot.
A marmot appears to have hitched a ride from a mountain somewhere in B.C. to Langley, and is now living under a storage unit at the Sources Food Bank.
“We spotted it a week ago. A marmot is not something you see every day,” said Sources’ manager Bruce Strom.
“I have no idea how it got here.”
Critter Care animal care supervisor Dawn Johnston said at this time of the year, marmots are notorious stowaways.
“They are well known to hitchhike, catching a ride under the hood of the car, in the engine bay, in wheel wells,” said Johnston.
In fact, these hitchhiking rodents are becoming more common in the Lower Mainland than they would like to see.
“With the temperature changes, they are starting to live down here,” she said.
Currently, Critter Care has two juvenile marmots in its care — one that came from a White Rock business on May 26 and one that arrived at a car dealership in Abbotsford earlier in the month.
“They are difficult to catch. They are very shy.
“Even for us here, we really don’t see them, we only hear them chirping.”
Critter Care plans to rehabilitate the pair and release them back to their native area, north of Merritt.
Marmots typically live amid rocky terrain in mountainous areas of B.C. There is also the Vancouver Island marmot, which faced extinction before a concerted effort was made at a Langley conservation and breeding centre to help restore the population.
Marmots are just one of the hundreds of types of wildlife Critter Care is taking care of right now.
“It’s baby season, so we are very busy,” said Johnston.
A young sea otter just arrived from Ambleside Park over the weekend. It had been caught in a snare, with the wire wrapped around its neck.
“It is doing quite well actually,” said Johnston. Numerous babies have arrived including raccoons, opossums, skunks, coyotes, and deer.
“So far no new bears,” said Johnston. “They usually arrive later in the year when mom starts to get ready for hibernation.”
The centre still has six bear cubs from last year in its care. Those bruins will be released back to the wild soon, she said.
Because Critter Care has dozens of new babies in residence, volunteers with the non-profit organization are holding a TP and tissue drive this Friday and Saturday, June 2 and 3 at McBurney Coffee and Tea House, 20504 Fraser Hwy., from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.
“We are in desperate need of toilet paper, paper towels and tissue. These babies go to the bathroom a lot and so there is a lot of clean up,” said longtime Critter Care volunteer, Eleanor Wells.
The flyer for the TP drive shows pictures of a bear cub and a baby raccoon being bottle fed, with the words, “What goes in, must come out!”