Groundhogs Can Climb

Until about five years ago, I believed groundhogs were truly ground animals. They tunneled (or burrowed) under houses, creating great animosity in some of my neighbors, who called the animal shelter gentleman and had the nuisances caught in a live trap and transported to another property. Sometimes the animal control gent couldn’t catch them. One afternoon I watched a mother and two pups climb a mulberry tree to the east of my house. They did so easily. They stayed up there for quite awhile and then came down easily. I think they ate berries, though I didn’t see that. Now I live where I have no groundhogs, just teasing squirrels and quarreling, singing, and busy, busy birds, and a snake and few toads in warm weather. It’s a nice neighborhood but not quite as mixed.

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About rmkinder

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One Response to Groundhogs Can Climb

  1. Groundhogs grow larger than one might expect. For some reason I havenot noticed any on my land but two days ago I did see a very largecoyote crossing the hay field. He seemed to be in no hurry though if afarmer had spotted him from the road his journey toward the pond wouldhave been cut short. He certainly was in full winter coat. I say "he"because it was too large to be a female. Years ago I had a coydog thatfollowed a friend home from an afternoon of hunting in the woods. Itwas a pup who learned that dog food tasted better than frogs and miceso she stayed. At the time we did not know it was a cross between adog and a coyote. We had her spayed and put an orange collar on her.She stayed on the farm, ridding the barn of vermin. One day we saw herwatching a squirrel in the oak that was near a large ash tree. The ashhad numerous limbs at a low level and several hollow limbs with holesperfect for squirrel nests. That coydog timed his rush so that hecould gain access where the trunk forked and his momentum would carryhim up the limb to catch the squirrel before it disappeared into thehole. I always wondered why the squirrels did not merely turn back. Itseemed to be a race between the squirrels and the coydog. Eventually,there were no more squirrels in the trees as the coydog had caught andeaten all of them. I had never before seen a canine climb a tree.

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