Friday, April 16, 2010

A Pair Of Groundhogs

I have an extra long and extra good post for you today! On a day after it rained all night I had a feeling the groundhog would be back out. So I went out to the field where I always see him, and I got double the groundhogs for the price of one. That's right! There were two of them out there!

I know some of you wanted to see the groundhog's face a little better the last time I shared him with you, so I made sure I got that for you too, and maybe even a little bit more! I had to stretch the zoom on my camera to its limits, but I think I got some good stuff.

I made sure this post was going to cover everything this time. Not only did I get some good pictures of the groundhogs, I also have a new episode of Rat TV for you, and this one features both groundhogs! There's the one in the front, and then another one that decided to hang out in the back.

Watch them as they keep looking up just in case a predator might be approaching. These two are always really nervous, so I couldn't get very close to them. I couldn't risk even getting out of my truck, so there is some noise from the engine in the video. They were fine with that part, so I didn't dare shut it off.

Here's the lead groundhog eating grass while holding it with his front paw. Just like a human eating a snack! Grass is one of their favorite kinds of food. They are mostly herbivorous, but they sometimes like a good grub. Other rodents, such as squirrels, are more willing to eat smaller animals.

A fun little fact is that groundhogs are actually a type of squirrel. They are what is known as ground squirrels. They are in the family of Sciuridae, just like any tree squirrel that I've shown in the past, and will definitely be giving you a fresh look at soon. A groundhog's scientific name is Marmota Monax.

Finally, here is the second groundhog. She seems to want to hang back near the den. It looks like she can see me watching them, so I understand why she won't come closer. Groundhogs are normally solitary creatures, but right now is the heart of mating season for them.

Here is the lead groundhog rooting around in the grass while the other one looks out for any danger that might be about. I referred to the one in front as he, and the one in back as she, but I really have no idea which is which, and I have no desire to go over and ask them. I only talk this way to help give them personality.

While they would most likely run and hide if I were to approach, groundhogs are known for sometimes being aggressive fighters. They don't like to play around if they are threatened. They can and will defend themselves. I think that's enough for me to decide to stay away from them, especially these two big critters.

The last time I saw this chubby guy, he was running across the grass chasing something. I don't really know why he did it. Maybe he was just protecting his territory. He moves a lot faster than his chubby frame might indicate. As big as he is now, he will get about twice this fat by the time he's ready to hibernate for next winter. That's a lot of groundhog! He's quite a bit bigger than a house cat, weighing more than twice as much.

That's it for this look at my two local groundhogs. I enjoy watching them as much as I can, but there's always a new adventure for me. I wonder what I'll see next...


Today over at Nature Center Magazine, Rob will be featuring a new Free Wallpaper. Today's contributor of wallpaper is Jean from The Joy of Bird Watching and Living a Simple Life! Some of you may be fans of her blog, just like I am. Go take a look at her free wallpaper and tell her how much you like it. Then follow the links to visit Jean's wonderful blog.

15 comments:

  1. hahaha..they are so cute...we don't have groundhog here in the Philippines so i wonder if you can make them as a pet hahaha.

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  2. I didn't think that they would come out at this time of the year, especially during the day..Great pictures and video Ratty!

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  3. Great video, shows perfectly there awareness of surroundings. You are right they are a member of the squirrel family, and can actually climb trees if distressed, although not that high up into the tree.

    Thanks.

    Bill;www.wildramblings.com

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  4. I've never seen a groundhog in real life and I had no idea that they were such big creatures...I imagined them no bigger then a squirrel although didn't know they were part of the same family. Thanks for all the info ratty...I really feel like i know this litter (or rather large) critter now. Oh and I would say that the lead one was the male and that the female was out back...just a guess though!!

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  5. I am amazed at the size of this guy. He definitely slept the winter away with plenty of food stored! I had no idea they grew this big! That's eating a lot of grass, Ratty. Nice pictures and video.

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  6. Very cute! I did not know that they grew this big either. :-)

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  7. How cute! We've got a groundhog who's a regular visitor in our backyard. He's not as big as these, though.

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  8. The only time I've ever actually seen a groundhog was when I was driving and they've run out in front of me. Luckily I've never hit one.

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  9. I hope you are gonna show us photos of baby groundhogs!! I never see those.

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  10. Aww, they are so adorable. We've had a few in our yard that pop up from time to time, although, I have never been able to get as close as you have here.

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  11. I've never seen a wild groundhog before other than at a zoo maybe. They are fun to watch.

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  12. I love woodchucks! They just strike my fancy somehow. They were the last animals my mom and I watched together from the window in the nursing home before she slipped into... wherever it is that older people's minds go to.

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  13. How fun! Two groundhogs out on a date. But yeah, they're awfully big compared to a little 6 lb. cat like me, so I'd keep my distance too.

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  14. Too cute. Thanks for this post!

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