June 26, 2009

Marmot rides eight hours on car bumper

A California animal services official said a yellow-bellied marmot was a little freaked out but uninjured by an eight-hour ride on a car bumper.

Dan DeSousa, a spokesman for the San Diego County Department of Animal Services, said the marmot latched onto Karl Knoblock's bumper at the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness Area, northeast of Fresno, Calif., and he only realized there was a living animal clinging to his bumper when he arrived home in Encinitas, Calif., the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Friday.

DeSousa said Knoblock drove to the San Diego County animal shelter in Carlsbad, where an animal control officer spent an hour gently coaxing the animal from the car's bumper, and later wheel well and engine compartment.

DeSousa said the California Department of Fish and Game plans to return the burrowing ground squirrel to its natural habitat.

We're trying to keep it as calm as possible, DeSousa said.

He said the marmot was not injured during his journey.

He's a healthy marmot. He's just scared out of his wits right now, DeSousa said.