This Yellow-Bellied Marmot had taken up residence in a pothole on a Montana highway just outside Cooke City. I noticed the marmot while photographing a landscape off the highway, it appeared to be just lounging in the road, which they do quite often. I didn’t think much of it and continued to photograph the scenery. A car approached and I thought for sure he was roadkill, but as the car drove over him he vanished, much like the famous disappearing act of Harry Houdini. I could not see the pothole in the road from my vantage point so I was indeed very confused by what I had just witnessed out of the corner of my eye. I moved closer and realized there was a small hole in the road and knew that is where he must have retreated to. I quickly changed lenses and tried to stay out of sight so I would not startle the animal if he decided to come back out. Sure enough as another car approached he popped back up.
I observed the little fellow for quite some time, amused by this game of “chicken” he seemed to be playing with motorists. When a car approached he would poke his head up out of the hole and look around, but just at the last second when the car slammed the brakes or tried swerving to avoid hitting him he would quickly duck back out of sight, leaving people scratching their heads or laughing hysterically as they drove by me. Eventually he stopped popping up and I went over to investigate more, the hole appeared to tunnel underneath the road and I also found another hole just off the edge of the road, probably a second entrance to his pothole “den”.