Friday, May 23, 2014

Groundhog in a Fix, Threatens Suicide

Enjoying my breakfast yesterday out in the back sunroom, my eye caught a brown furry blur streaking through the undergrowth in the back yard. Sure enough, the invader was a central Pennsylvania groundhog (Marmota monax), which is not too surprising; we've had several share our hillside over the years. This sighting took a little different twist, however, when the little fellow decided to tour our deck. Groundhogs are shy critters and usually only seen by roadsides munching clover within a quick scamper of cover. But this one was feeling brave...until I followed him out onto the deck.




What we call groundhogs, here in Pennsylvania, are often called woodchucks. Which is a name I have heard myself called, probably a couple of thousand times. So I feel a kindred spirit to the furry fellows, even though they're not too friendly...can be downright mean, in fact.

I've wondered why they're called woodchucks...do they really throw wood chunks around?




I've never seen them act like that. Those must be Canadian woodchucks.

Actually...
"The etymology of the name woodchuck is unrelated to wood or chucking. It stems from an Algonquian (possibly Narragansett) name for the animal, wuchak. The similarity between the words has led to the popular tongue-twister:
      How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? 
     A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he could if a woodchuck could chuck wood!"
          - Wikipedia

So now you know...a real woodchuck won't chuck at all. Another myth of the world of wood debunked here today on Go Wood :-)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just make sure they don't chuck Chuck.:)

Good story.

John Taylor

Anonymous said...

Doc Watson knew something about them.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbxoNcwi0AY

J. craig said...

Chuck Would you like us to make Crop field ground hog video?? Cheers

jayo said...

Always lol when the Geico ad plays! In Chuck's woodchuck video, one cannot help but notice the groundhog's beautiful fur. Fly-fishers are creative sorts and although woodchuck is not a commonly used material, it has merit. I've hooked a few trout with the Llama Fly (please don't ask me why a fly with a wing made from woodchuck fur is called that), but I might try some others, especially the soft-hackle woodchuck: http://globalflyfisher.com/patterns/woodchuck/