Monday, August 18, 2008
Cascade Peak And Marmots
I forgot to mention in my "Just Around The River Bend" post from two days ago, that Tokyo Disneyland has their own version of Cascade Peak. I am not sure if their peak actually has a name, but it's sits on the bank of the river where the Mark Twain Steamboat and the Canoes pass by, giving passengers a close up view of it's waterfall and it's audio-animatronic wildlife. At it's peak is a family of birds (hawks?) The mother is feeding the baby while the father watches overhead. Further down on the rocks and to the left of the waterfall, you will see a group of marmots (look closely). They pop up and down randomly from behind the rocks while making noises. These are very similar to the marmots that pop up out of the wrecked mine train that sits along the shores of the Rivers of America at Disneyland in Anaheim (where Cascade Peak used to stand).
Below is a close up of some marmots from the same general area along the Westernland River, but these are only visible while riding the Western River Railroad.
Incidentally, the old Nature's Wonderland Mine Train attraction at Disneyland included a group of marmots along it's route for years.
What's all this talk about marmots? What IS a marmot, do you ask? Well, wikipedia states that "Marmots are generally large ground squirrels......however the groundhog is also properly called a marmot" and that they "typically live in burrows, and hibernate there through the winter". It goes on to say that "most marmots are highly social, and use loud whistles to communicate with one another, especially when alarmed. This would explain why the old Nature's Wonderland guide would say that the marmots must be "whistling at all you pretty gals, I can't say I blame 'em". It may have been a sexist remark, but at least it was accurate information about the little critters. What's that? You say you want to know even MORE about marmots? Well wikipedia also states that "some historians suggest that marmots, rather than rats, were the primary carriers of the Bubonic plague during several historic outbreaks. Through this they are credited with a death toll of over a billion, making them second only to the malarial mosquito as a killer of humans." Hmmm, fascinating!