The Marmots of British Columbia - Wildlife in Canada

A yellow-bellied marmot in Yosemite National Park; this species also lives in British Columbia
A yellow-bellied marmot in Yosemite National Park; this species also lives in British Columbia | Source

The Marmot Species in British Columbia

Marmots are the largest ground squirrels in the world. They usually live in mountainous areas and have thick coats to keep them warm. They are very social animals that often live in colonies. They are also very vocal and produce a number of different calls. During the day, marmots feed on the plants in alpine or subalpine meadows. At night, they sleep in the extensive burrow system that they've constructed.

There are four species of marmots in British Columbia - the hoary marmot, the yellow-bellied marmot, the Vancouver Island marmot and the groundhog. The groundhog is related to the other three animals but is a little different from them. The marmots of British Columbia are very interesting animals to observe, but they can only be seen in summer. The animals hibernate for seven or eight months each year.

The hoary marmot is a big animal that gets its name from the mantle of white hair over its shoulder and upper back. The yellow-bellied marmot is a smaller animal that is red brown in colour and has a yellow or orange belly. The Vancouver Island marmot is also smaller than the hoary marmot and has a chocolate brown coat with white patches. This animal is of particular concern because its population is critically endangered.

Vancouver Island and Mainland British Columbia

A markerVancouver Island -
Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
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The Province of British Columbia in Canada

British Columbia is Canada's most westerly province and lies next to the Pacific Ocean. The "mainland" area of the province is joined to the rest of Canada. A number of islands are located off the west coast of the mainland. The largest of these islands is Vancouver Island. Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and is located on Vancouver island.

The hoary and yellow-bellied marmots live on the mainland of British Columbia as well as in the United States. The Vancouver Island marmot lives only on Vancouver Island.

A hoary marmot
A hoary marmot | Source

What is a Marmot?

Marmots are mammals that belong to the rodent order and the squirrel family. They are divided into two groups which have slightly different features.

  • The Marmota group consists of the European and Asian marmots as well as the North American groundhog or woodchuck. The groundhog lives at lower elevations than its North American relatives and generally isn't referred to as a "marmot". It has a widespread distribution in both Canada and the United States and is found in British Columbia.
  • The Petromarmota group consists of the four marmots that live only in western North America (the Hoary, Yellow-bellied, Vancouver Island and Olympic marmots).

The Olympic marmot is found only on the Olympic peninsula in Washington. This peninsula is located immediately to the south of Vancouver Island.

The Hoary Marmot Whistle

The Hoary Marmot or Whistler

Hoary marmots live in alpine areas above or at the tree line. The term "hoary" refers to the white mantle of hair on the marmot's shoulders and upper back. The rest of the coat is usually red-brown but varies considerably in colour. Sometimes the animal is almost entirely white. Its scientific name is Marmota caligata.

The hoary marmot is also called a whistler because of the high pitched sounds that it makes to warn its colony as predators or humans approach. The famous mountain resort town of Whistler is named after the calls of the hoary marmots in the area. Other marmots in British Columbia also produce a whistle as an alarm call. Like the hoary marmot, they are sometimes known as whistle pigs.

Marmots also produce chirps and trills as alarm calls. In areas with many human visitors, however, marmots may no longer produce alarm calls when people pass by. They may even approach humans in the hope of getting food.

An adult hoary marmot is a large and bulky animal, especially if it's a male and the animal has increased its mass to prepare for hibernation. The animal may weigh as much as thirty pounds but more commonly reaches twenty pounds. The hoary marmot and the alpine marmot of Europe are both said to be the largest ground squirrels in the world.

A Hoary Marmot Close Up

The Marmot Colony

Hoary marmots are found in mountainous areas in most of mainland British Columbia. Their colonies generally consist of a dominant male, several breeding females, their youngsters and sometimes a few subordinate males. If food is limited, the marmots live alone instead of in a colony.

Hoary marmots are active during the day, when they feed on plants that grow in subalpine and alpine meadows. They spend their nights in burrows. They may also retreat into the burrows for short periods during the day. The burrows of a colony are built close to each other.

The marmots choose an area with both a meadow and boulders for their home. The burrows are constructed in the soil of the meadow or under a boulder. The soil must be soft and deep in order for a marmot to dig efficiently and create a suitable home. A site under a boulder is often chosen for the burrow because the boulder provides protection from animals that can dig, such as bears. The burrow system is frequently complex, with deep chambers and tunnels and multiple entrances. Chambers are often lined with plant material.

Marmots greet each other around the burrow entrances and youngsters play with one another there. The boulders in a colony's territory make good lookout posts for marmots who are acting as sentinels for the colony. The boulders are also good places for the marmots to sun themselves.

Marmot Interactions

The Life of a Hoary Marmot

The year is a short one for a hoary marmot. Like all British Columbia marmots, the animal is active during the summer and hibernates during the winter. Hibernation lasts from September to April.

Mating takes place inside burrows soon after hibernation ends. The females reach reproductive maturity at two years of age but may not breed until they are three years old. Gestation lasts for about thirty days and two to five pups are born. The pups leave the burrow at about one month of age. Hoary marmots are thought to live for a maximum of twelve years. Due to predation, however, the animals may not reach this maximum lifespan.

Despite their large size, hoary marmots have multiple predators, including foxes, coyotes, wolverines, bears, lynx and golden eagles. Youngsters are especially vulnerable to predation.

A hoary marmot in Mount Ranier National Park, Washington
A hoary marmot in Mount Ranier National Park, Washington | Source

Marmot Hibernation

A marmot's hibernation burrow is generally deeper than burrows intended for daily use and is located below the frost level. Hibernation is a potentially dangerous time in which the animal is unresponsive to its surroundings. A hibernating marmot is in a deep torpor and its temperature is only slightly higher than that of its immediate environment. In addition, its heart beats very slowly and its breathing rate is much slower than normal.

In captivity, a marmot in hibernation may wake for short periods and even leave the burrow to urinate before going back into the burrow and falling into a torpor again.

A hibernating animal relies on its stored fat for energy while it is in a topor and immediately after it emerges from the burrow. If it doesn't have enough stored fat it won't be able to survive. Despite the danger, however, hibernation is beneficial for the marmot species as a whole, since it enables animals to survive during the winter when their food is unavailable.

A yellow-bellied marmot
A yellow-bellied marmot | Source

The Yellow-Bellied Marmot or Rock Chuck

The yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris) generally lives in a colony but may also live with one other animal or on its own. It's often found at lower elevations than the hoary marmot and may be seen in rocky areas, mountain meadows and areas with mixed meadow and trees.

Like the hoary marmot, the yellow-bellied marmot looks quite bulky when it has built up fat stores. However, it's considerably smaller than the hoary marmot and reaches a maximum weight of only about eleven pounds.

Yellow-bellied marmots build their burrows under rocks, bushes or logs, which hide the entrance to a burrow. Like other marmots, they feed on plants during the summer, socialize with members of their colony (such as by greeting and grooming each other) and produce alarm cells when predators approach. In addition to the whistle, chirp and trill, yellow-bellied marmots produce a sound known as a "chuck".

Yellow-bellied marmots hibernate for seven or eight months of the year. Many spend September to April in their hibernation burrow, or hibernaculum. Hibernation tends to last for a shorter time in warmer habitats.

The yellow-bellied marmot reaches reproductive maturity at two years of age, but only about twenty five-percent of females reproduce at this age. Most wait until they are three years old to reproduce. The usual litter size is three to eight pups. Gestation period is about thirty days and pups emerge from the burrow after about a month.

A yellow-bellied marmot standing on a sculpture in Princeton, British Columbia
A yellow-bellied marmot standing on a sculpture in Princeton, British Columbia | Source

Roger, The Yellow-Bellied Marmot at the Empress Hotel

Since 2008, a wild yellow-bellied marmot has been living on the grounds of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, a luxury hotel in Victoria. He's thought to have found his way there after hitching a ride on a truck that travelled from the mainland on a ferry, but the actual explanation for his arrival is unknown. Yellow-bellied marmots don't normally live on Vancouver Island.

The marmot has chosen a rockery next to a lawn for his home, which roughly resembles a rocky area next to a meadow in his natural habitat. He has avoided all attempts to trap him and has successfully survived hibernation each year. Yellow-bellied marmots are thought to live up to fifteen years.

The Empress marmot has been named "Roger". Note that feeding Roger as shown in the video below isn't recommended. He (or she) is still a wild animal!

Yellow-Bellied Marmot at the Empress Hotel in Victoria

The Vancouver Island Marmot

Vancouver Island marmots are chocolate brown in colour with a white patch on their chest, muzzle and the top of their head. Like other marmots, they have strong shoulder muscles and strong claws to help them dig. They reach a maximum weight of about 15.5 pounds. The scientific name of the Vancouver Island marmot is Marmota vancouverensis.

The marmots live in small colonies that generally consist of two to seven animals. They establish their burrows in alpine or subalpine meadows and feed on the plants that grow there, including herbs, flowers, grasses and sedges,. The burrows are usually built at the base of boulders or tree trunks.

In addition to the usual marmot calls, the Vancouver Island marmot produces a unique two-tone sound represented as "kee-aw". This can be heard at the Marmot Burrow website described below.

Waking Up From Hibernation - The Vancouver Island Marmot

Vancouver Island Marmot Hibernation

Vancouver Island marmots hibernate from mid September to late April or even early May. Researchers have discovered that the marmots block the entrance to their hibernaculum from the inside with rocks and soil. Radio telemetry indicates that some of the marmots hibernate as a family group

Radio telemetry is very useful for wildlife biologists. A device that emits radio waves is attached to an animal's body. The device is often located inside a collar. Researchers can then track the animal from a distance as they detect the radio waves.

As in the other marmot species, the Vancouver Island marmot mates in a burrow shortly after hibernation ends. The litter that results generally consists of three or four pups, which are born after a gestation period of about thirty-two days. The pups emerge from the burrow after one month of development.

Vancouver Island Marmots at the Calgary Zoo

Why is the Vancouver Island Marmot Endangered?

There seems to be no one reason why the Vancouver Island marmot population is in trouble. Several theories have been proposed. Some or all of the following observations and suggestions may be contributing to the population problem.

  • Animals have been mistaking clearcut areas or areas cleared for ski hills for subalpine meadows. After settling there and creating burrows they may not be able to find enough food.
  • As the forest regrows in clearcut areas, the marmots are forced to move. They may therefore never get a chance to reproduce regularly and establish a sustainable population.
  • Suitable habitats for the marmots are often widely separated.
  • Roads created for logging trucks have established an easy passage for predators.
  • Wolves, cougars and golden eagles prey on marmots. If these predators can't find enough of their other prey, they may increase their predation on the marmots.
  • The Vancouver Island marmot has a low reproductive rate. As is the case for the other two marmots, a female is capable of producing pups at two years of age. However, the female Vancouver Island marmot generally doesn't have her first litter until she is three, four or even five years old. After this, she normally reproduces only every other year.

Saving the Vancouver Island Marmot

Current Status of the Vancouver Island Marmot

According to the Marmot Recovery Foundation, in 2003 fewer than thirty wild Vancouver Island marmots existed, and they lived on only a "handful" of mountains. Several captive breeding and release programs were started soon after this discovery.

In 2011, which is apparently the last time that a population count was made, around 320 to 370 wild animals existed, and they were living on twenty eight mountains. The IUCN, or International Union for Conservation of Nature, still classifies the marmot as critically endangered, however.

Some researchers say that about 700 Vancouver Island marmots will need to exist in the wild before we can be reasonably certain that the species will survive. The recovery signs that have appeared so far are encouraging, but the battle to save the marmot isn't over. It would be a great shame if this marmot disappeared from the Earth.

More Marmot Information

The Marmot Burrow website run by UCLA allows visitors to hear sounds made by different marmots.

The Marmot Recovery Foundation acts to save the Vancouver Island marmot.

© 2014 Linda Crampton

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Comments 64 comments

Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Very interesting hub Alicia. I didn't know anything about marmots before. It amazes me the diverse wildlife of different countries. We don't have squirrels or any of the marmot family in Australia. You said ground hogs are related, what about gophers and beavers? Thanks for writing this, voted up.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Jodah. Thank you very much for the comment and the vote. The diversity of life on Earth is fascinating! Gophers and beavers are rodents too, but they belong to a different family from the marmots and from each other.


ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

These animals are so cute. It certainly would be a shame if they weren't around anymore.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

I agree, ologsinquito. Thanks for the visit!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

We see them all the time when we go hiking at Mt. Rainier. Entertaining little buggers....well, not so little. Now I know much more than I did before so thank you! Have a great weekend.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Bill. Yes, marmots are entertaining to watch! Thanks for the comment. I hope you have a great weekend, too.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

What interesting-looking and fascinating creatures or mammals! I have never seen one before. Their hibernation period is interesting too. Thank you for such an insightful and enjoyable read here. I love all of the imagery and videos. It would be so terrible if they became extinct. I thought Jodah's comment interesting that they do not have squirrels over there! Up and more and sharing. Have a great weekend, Faith Reaper


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Faith. I think it's very interesting to learn about the wildlife that lives in different countries! I hope very much that the efforts to save the Vancouver Island marmot succeed. Thank you for the comments, votes and share. Have a wonderful weekend!


VVanNess profile image

VVanNess 2 years ago from Prescott Valley

Very cool! I'm totally addicted to those nature channels that explain all of the different types of wildlife in a specific area, what they do that makes them special and why they do the things they do. I love hearing all about this special creature!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, VVanNess. Thank you very much for the comment. I enjoy watching nature programs on television, too. They are often fascinating!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

I once saw a Marmot in Rocky National Park, above timberline. It was very tame and docile, waiting for handouts as you said. Great hub!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Only 30 left, that is such a shame, and they are so gorgeous. Logging etc is such a pain, this is happening all over the world and we are losing our wildlife, this was fascinating, and if things would have been different I would have been born on Vancouver Island so I would have got to see them! What a great hub! voted up and shared, nell


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Mel. It is surprising how confident some marmots are around humans! It's very interesting to get a close up view of them. Thanks for the comment.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Nell. The plight of the Vancouver Island marmot is sad. Luckily, the number of wild animals has increased beyond the approximately thirty animals counted in 2003. The marmot is still in danger, though. Thank you very much for the vote and the share!


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

Linda, what a fascinating look at these interesting creatures. I remember seeing them in Rocky Mountain National Park years ago. They were very curious and did not seem afraid of us. Great info. Voted up, shared, pinned, etc.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Bill. Seeing marmots in the wild is always exciting! They are such an interesting sight. Thank you very much for the comment, the vote and the shares.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 2 years ago from Dubai

Great hub interesting and informative, I hope Marmots survive and carry on. It would be a shame to see them completely erased from existence. Voted up.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, Vellur! I appreciate your comment and the vote. I hope marmots survive, too. The only marmot in British Columbia that's in trouble is the Vancouver Island marmot. Its situation is still worrying, even though it's less serious then it was a few years ago.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

This was very educational, I do hope that those beautiful animals will continue to delight us for many more generations. Thank you for sharing this. Voting up and awesome.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, tobusiness. I appreciate your comment, as well as the votes! Like you, I think that marmots are beautiful animals. I hope they survive for a long time.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Hi Alicia -- fascinating hub on one of my favorite little animals. We see hundreds of the yellow bellies in the summer as they scamper over the alfalfa fields. There is a special area we go to where we see bands of wild horses, white-tailed deer and the marmots. The underground tunnel system of the marmots must be quite extensive. Thanks for writing this article, I have learned more now.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

How lovely to be able to see so many marmots, Phyllis! It sounds like you live in a lovely area. Thank you very much for the visit and the comment.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

The Marmots of British Columbia - Wildlife in Canada is an incredible hub from with videos and photos. You did a thorough research on this beautiful rodent they look so cuddly and cute. Voted up!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and the vote, DDE! I agree - marmots are beautiful rodents. I love to watch them.


epbooks profile image

epbooks 2 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

I've never seen one, but they are adorable!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, epbooks. Yes, marmots are very cute! Thanks for the visit.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 years ago from South Africa

Very interesting hub about marmots, Alicia! I wonder, however, if Canadian 'marmots' are what we call 'rock rabbits'? You have triggered my curiosity :)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Martie. Thank you very much for the comment. Common names for animals can be confusing! The rock hyrax is sometimes called a rock rabbit, so that might be the animal that you are thinking of.


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 2 years ago

Another fascinating Hub. What a cute animal. You really have quite a talent for researching information on such incredible creatures.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the visit and the kind comment, Crafty!


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 2 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Thanks for all the great information on marmots Alicia - I didn't even know there was an animal called a 'hoary marmot'. What an excellent name! Interesting hub and beautiful photos


raymondphilippe profile image

raymondphilippe 2 years ago from The Netherlands

Lovely hub. Lovely marmots


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Cynthia. Thanks for the comment. I like the name "hoary marmot", too! It's very appropriate.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the visit and the comment, raymondphilippe!


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Glad to hear that the Vancouver Island Marmot is recovering. It would be a terrible thing to lose them, too. Go, IUCN!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

I agree, Deb. Losing the Vancouver Island marmot would be terrible! Thanks for the visit.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States

I have heard of a marmot, but never seen one. That are certainly interesting. They must eat the whole time they are awake to sustain themselves for that long hybernation.

You did an excellent job of writing about each variety. It is a shame the Vancouver marmot is almost extinct.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment, Pamela. The status of the Vancouver Island marmot population is worrying. Hopefully the conservation efforts will succeed.


Suhail and my dog profile image

Suhail and my dog 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

In order to observe marmots, I have to visit and hike in BC national parks soon.

One of my hiking trips took me to Khunjerab National Park in the extreme north of Pakistan, bordering China. I observed marmots there, but it was so windy and cold that day we had to retreat to lower elevation quickly.

Btw, I loved this hub with some great information on this rodent.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Your hiking trip to Pakistan must have been very interesting, Suhail, despite the cold and wind at high elevations! Thanks for the visit and the comment.


colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 2 years ago from Minnesota

I am very impressed with this educational hub, Alicia. I learned a lot about the Marmots . Thank you for the in-depth research and information. The closest relatives I have seen are woodchucks and grey and red squirrels.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment, colorfulone. I appreciate your visit!


DealForALiving profile image

DealForALiving 2 years ago from Earth

Those are some big squirrels. Really great hub and educational too, so thank you for writing.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, DealForALiving.


adevwriting profile image

adevwriting 15 months ago from United Countries of the World

Learning about wildlife around the world is very interesting! The Marmot looked very intelligent. It would be sad if they weren't around. Voted up! Congrats on another Hub of the Day!


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 15 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Alicia, congrats on HOTD! This was an interesting hub for sure about marmots in BC. Voted up!


ArtDiva profile image

ArtDiva 15 months ago from Yountville, CA

Hi, Alicia! I remember seeing, and visited by, marmots when hiking Mt. Rainier many years ago. I didn't know there were so many different species. They look like prairie dogs, but with different colored coats. Did not realize, they too, are struggling for survival, all too common among so many species.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and the congratulations, adevwriting. I always appreciate your visits!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the comment, the congrats and the vote, Kristen! I appreciate them all.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, ArtDiva. I would love to explore Mt. Ranier. That would be a wonderful place to observe nature! Thank you for the visit and the comment.


bluebird profile image

bluebird 15 months ago

Loved that opening picture and the pose of the marmot there. Interesting hub with interesting videos, etc. Thanks and congrats too!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, bluebird. (I love your HubPages name!) I appreciate your visit.


asmyra 15 months ago

nice and very informative, i love biology and diversity as i am a medical student, but you have done a great work


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the kind comment, asmyra.


Sara Krentz profile image

Sara Krentz 15 months ago from USA

Interesting hub! We saw either a hoary or yellow-belly while hiking in Mount Ranier National Park.


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 15 months ago from Massachusetts

Congratulations Linda. Very well deserved. Have a great weekend.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

I want to explore Mount Ranier National Park so much, especially after reading the comments in this hub! Thanks for the visit, Sara.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, Bill. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 15 months ago from southern USA

Congratulations, Linda! You are such a wonderful teacher here on HubPages and we all learn so much from reading your fascinating and well-written hubs. Another well-deserved HOTD.

Blessings


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for the lovely comment, Faith. You are always so kind! Blessings to you, too. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 15 months ago from Southern Georgia

Yes, but what do they taste like, Linda? :P


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

I hope I never find out! Thanks for the visit, Randy.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 15 months ago from North Texas

Looks like a handsome specimen!

Congratulations on getting HOTD AGAIN, twice in 11 days!! Great!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, Au fait. I appreciate your congratulations!

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