Tarbagan marmot

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Tarbagan marmot
Marmota sibirica - (Russia, Mongolia) - Rochers-de-Naye, Switzerland, 2009.JPG
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Marmota
Subgenus: Marmota
Species: M. sibirica
Binomial name
Marmota sibirica
(Radde, 1862)

The Tarbagan marmot (Marmota sibirica) is a species of rodent in the Sciuridae family. It is found in China (Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang), northern and western Mongolia, and Russia (southwest Siberia, Tuva, Transbaikalia).[2] In the Mongolian Altai the range overlaps with that of the Gray marmot.[3] The species was classified as Endangered by the IUCN in 2008.[1]

Two subspecies are distinguished:[2]

  • M. s. sibirica
  • M. s. caliginosus

The tarbagan marmot has been eaten for centuries in the native cuisine of Mongolia, and in particular are used to make a dish called boodog. The meat is cooked by inserting hot stones, preheated in a fire, into the abdominal cavity of a deboned marmot. The skin is then tied up to make a bag within which the meat cooks.[4] Hunting of marmots for food is typically done in autumn when the animals are heavier since they are preparing for hibernation.[5]

Epizootics of the plague are known to occur in tarbagan marmots in northeastern China and Mongolia.[6] The plague in marmots is of the pneumonic form, spread by marmots coughing.[7] The plague can jump from marmots to human through the bite of the tarbagan flea (Ceratophyllus silantievi), or through consumption of meat.[6] Marmot epizootics are known to co-occur with human epidemics in the same area.[6] Human plague epidemics in this area are largely pneumonic plague, the most deadly form of plague.[6][8]


  1. ^ a b Batbold, J., Batsaikhan, N., Tsytsulina, K. & Sukchuluun, G. (2008). Marmota sibirica. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  2. ^ a b Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  3. ^ Rogovin, Konstantin A. (1992). "Habitat use by two species of Mongolian marmots (Marmota sibirica and M. baibacina) in a zone of sympatry'" (PDF). Acta Theriologica 37 (4): 345–350. doi:10.4098/at.arch.92-35. 
  4. ^ "Boodog: Hot Stones in Stomach". Cuisine of Mongolia. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  5. ^ Carole, Pegg (2001). Mongolian music, dance, and oral narrative. University of Washington Press. p. 294. ISBN 0-295-98030-3. 
  6. ^ a b c d Elton, C.S. (1925). "Plague and the Regulation of Numbers in Wild Mammals". Journal of Hygiene 24 (2): 138–163. doi:10.1017/S0022172400008652. PMC 2167669. PMID 20474858. 
  7. ^ Kelly, John (2006). The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time. HarperCollins. p. 300. ISBN 0-06-000693-5. OCLC 68437303. 
  8. ^ "Plague breaks out in China's Tibet". The Sydney Morning Herald. September 26, 2010. 
  • Thorington, R. W. Jr. and R. S. Hoffman. 2005. Family Sciuridae. pp. 754–818 in Mammal Species of the World a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder eds. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.