How much wood COULD a woodchuck chuck?
This particular creature has been very much on my mind lately.
First, the peas disappeared. We thought it was rabbits. The neighbourhood has a decent supply. Then, the carrot tops went, and were followed by the morning glories. Yesterday, our first two, almost ripe, beautiful, baseball sized tomatoes vanished.
We thought to blame the tomatoes on my three year old. He is, after all, frequently guilty of stealing cherry tomatoes. I think, however, he would have a difficult time eating two full sized tomatoes without me noticing. I have also seen chipmunks snacking on the cherry tomatoes….but had a hard time picturing them rolling the big ones across the lawn without a trace.
No, THIS is our guilty party. He or she has moved in under our deck, and is using our vegetable garden as a buffet. Every couple of days we catch a glimpse of our vegetable thief lumbering around the yard.
This is a Groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as a Woodchuck, or by some as a Whistle Pig.
They range from 4-8 pounds, dig elaborate burrows and hibernate through the winter by reducing their temperature close to freezing. They eat…. yes, vegetables.
According to folklore and superstition, groundhogs can be used to forecast the arrival of spring. There are numerous groundhogs employed with such a yearly task, but according to one article, Canadian groundhogs used for this purpose are only accurate about 37% of the time. (Methinks this is now more of a tourist gimmick and fun tradition than anything else).
Despite the fact that groundhogs are my son’s 14th favourite animal, and the fact that it’s entertaining to watch him (her?) waddle around, we aren’t overly happy about losing all the fruits and veggies. We haven’t figured out how to drive it away yet, but any suggestions are welcome! It seems that in Ontario it is illegal to relocate animals further than 1km from home (and many websites suggest this is unethical due to the possibility of youngsters in the burrow). So, we may try deterrents.
Oh, and the answer is:
About as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood. 🙂
Posted on August 6, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged featured species, groundhog, how much wood could a woodchuck chuck, mammal, southern ontario, species of the week, stealing vegetables, whistle-pig, woodchuck. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.