This morning, I was watching our resident groundhog, Groundy, out back. (I took this picture last year. I'm sorry it's not very bright or sharp, but I was taking it through the basement window.)
I know they're pests. I know they're destructive. Groundy has a burrow under the front deck walkway.
I also find them so dang cute! Those little ears, and that dark little nose, and when they go running, they're so fat they look hilarious!
As I was sitting here, Sheeba hopped up on his perch and was looking intently out the front window. I went over and looked out, too, and heard a little noise. Next thing I knew, Groundy came trotting across the front deck and onto the walkway. He really was trotting, too, making a thump thump thump on the boards, and I swear I thought he was going to start singing, "La de da de dah...." He looked so funny!
He stopped in a little patch of sun, and Sheeba and I watched him for a while. He didn't do anything, just looked around. (Surveying his domain, I guess.) He finally crept under the deck.
I wonder if we'll have groundhog babies this year? A couple of years ago, we had three, and named them Moe, Larry, and Curly. If I think an adult groundhog is cute, their babies are just adorable!
Most of you probably know that a groundhog is also called a woodchuck. However, this has nothing to do with wood, and is instead from the Algonquin Indian name for the critter, wuchak.
They are sometimes called land beavers, and I don't know why. But it reminds me of the "Saturday Night Live" skit, Landshark!
My favorite name for them, though, is whistlepig. Have you ever seen a groundhog standing straight up, on his hind legs, completely motionless? If they sense danger, they'll make a whistling sound to warn others in their colony. I have yet to hear a whistlepig whistle, but a gal can dream, can't she?