Since moving to this house in 2006, there have been various critters living in or traversing through the yard. Changes in the suburban landscape; the lost of habitat due to “pseudo-regentrification” of a local park; natural (and unnatural) fluctuations in population); and whether or not our landlady is in residency with her pet dog (and now cat). Also, whether or not we are feeding the birds (and how/what food present) as critters like sunflower seeds and nuts too.
However, as this is such a crazy nature year, the sightings have been numerous and unique. One example: possums had vanished – hadn’t seen one in years. Not only did we spot an adult several times, we got to experience a young one actually playing possum. Sure enough, after a few minutes of being dead, it twitched its ear, moved its legs, and was gone.
This week we had a parent and baby groundhogs; the usual scent of a skunk ambling through; the occasional squirrel checking out the empty bird feeder, (and chattering their disapproval); nocturnal rambunctious racoons knocking over the bird bath; and another groundhog squeezing itself under one of the sheds in the yard.
Squeeze is the operative word; when a skunk started hanging out underneath the shed a few years ago, we tried blocking entry with wooden barriers. I know small rodents such as mice, can get through tight spaces, but never before watched a much larger one trying to do the same.
According to Wikipedia:
The groundhog is also referred to as a chuck, wood-shock, groundpig, whistlepig, whistler, thickwood badger, Canada marmot, monax, moonack, weenusk, red monk, land beaver, and, among French Canadians in eastern Canada, siffleux. The name “thickwood badger” was given in the Northwest to distinguish the animal from the prairie badger. Monax (Móonack) is an Algonquian name of the woodchuck, which means “digger” (cf. Lenape monachgeu).
Oh, and how much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?