It’s time for an exceptionally awesome visit to the Department of Unexpected Interspecies Friendship. Usually our visits involve two or more different animals that have somehow struck up a bond. This time we’ve learned about a group of animals, specifically a sprawl of Alpine Marmots, who have developed a great fondness for an eight-year-old boy named Matteo Walch.

Alpine Marmots are known for being very shy in the presence of humans. At the sight of people they will beat their tails on the ground and chatter their teeth in warning before alerting the rest of their colony to danger with a loud whistle. But these particular marmots don’t do anything of the sort when they spot Matteo. Instead they scurry over to greet him and show nothing but affection.

Matteo first met these marmots four years ago during a trip with his family to Groslocker [sic] [edit: we think it might actually be Grossglockner] in the Austrian Alps. We aren’t sure how they met in the first place. Perhaps it was love at first sight and they ran to greet each other across a beautiful alpine scene as orchestral music swelled in the background. Whatever the catalyst, since striking up this remarkable relationship, the family now returns to the same location each year for a two week visit so that Matteo and his small furry friends can spend more time together.

Matteo’s father Michaela, said: “Their friendship has lasted for more than four years now. He loves those animals and they are not at all afraid of Matteo because he has a feeling towards them and they understand that. We go there every year now for two weeks - it’s amazing to watch the connection between a boy and his animal friends.”

Don’t even think about trying to seek out these marmots yourself. The photos make it abundantly clear that they’ve only got eyes for Matteo.

As for us, we’ve just got one thing we’d like to say to Matteo: “Hey, nice marmot!”

[via Neatorama and]

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