The Himalayan marmot lives in extended family units which may join together to form colonies (11) (12), the size of which depends on the resources available (1) (3). In some cases, a colony can contain up to 30 families (11).
Marmots live primarily on a diet of herbaceous plants and grasses (3) (5) (9), and the Himalayan marmot is no exception, eating the soft, juicy developing shoots (11). However, this speciesmay also eat fruit or grain from time to time if they are available (9), as well as roots and the leaves of herbaceous plants (3).
The Himalayan marmot, like all other marmots, is active during the day (13), generally retreating into its burrows when the surface temperature rises or falls outside of the 8 to 12 degrees Celsius range (11). Over the winter months, from late September until the following April, the Himalayan marmot hibernates (14). The hibernation burrows of the Himalayan marmot are especially deep (1) (3), in some cases potentially over ten metres deep (11), and are shared with other colony members (1) (3).
Species within the Marmota genus generally have a single mating season, which begins soon after the animals have emerged from hibernation (9). However, in the Himalayan marmot, females are reported to give birth toward the end of hibernation, after a one-month gestation period, with young being born from April to July (3). The young are thought to be born in a grass-lined nest (7) (9), and litters usually consists of between 2 and 11 young (1) (3). The young, born helpless and without fur, teeth or sight, remain in the burrow for six weeks until they have grown a full fur coat and are strong enough to venture into the outside world (7). As in other marmot species, young Himalayan marmots then tend to remain with the family, and females do not become reproductively active until their second spring (1) (3) (9).
When alerted to danger, marmots sit upright on their hind legs in order to get a better view of their surroundings (5).