Mon, August 27, 2012
Lifestyle > Society

Schoolboy forms special relationship with marmots

2012-08-27 08:40:32 GMT2012-08-27 16:40:32(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

Special bond: Matteo Walch has struck up an unlikely friendship with a group of marmots in the Austrian Alps.(Photo/Caters News Agency)

Furry friends; The schoolboy from Innsbruck first met the clan of marmots four years ago on a family holiday and has returned every year since.(Photo/Caters News Agency)

Unlikely pair: The normally shy marmots show Matteo nothing but affection when he visits them at Hohe Tauern National Park in Austria.(Photo/Caters News Agency)

A member of the clan: The marmots gather around Matteo when he arrives and lets him feed them and play with them despite normally running away from humans .(Photo/Caters News Agency)

Matteo and his family spend two weeks every year in the Alps visiting his marmot friends.(Photo/Caters News Agency)

Nose to nose: A marmot greets eight-year-old Matteo on the slopes of the Austrian Alps.(Photo/Caters News Agency)

Jealous: One marmot is so keen to get his attention that it has climbed up into Matteo's lap for a cuddle.(Photo/Caters News Agency)

They are notoriously shy around humans, beating their tails and chattering their teeth to try to warn us off before emitting loud whistles to tell other members of their colony to flee.

But when these alpine marmots see Matteo Walch, they scuttle to his side and show him nothing but affection.

The eight-year-old built up a remarkable relationship with the creatures since first being taken to see them by his nature-loving family four years ago.

(Agencies)

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