Groundhog day

Yesterday we had perhaps the most exciting day at our house so far. Up until now we’ve seen a fawn, a turkey, and a handful of colorful birds. But yesterday we saw something completely unexpected: A groundhog.

We were getting ready for the Communication Studies department picnic/BBQ when Sim said “Oh my f-ing god, come here quick!” I could tell from the tone of his voice that he had spotted something outside, but I figured it was just a coyote or something. By the time I ran to the window of the back deck it was gone. Sim described a creature that sounded like a beaver to me. He said that it waddled up to the door of Dennis’ shed and went inside! Sim grabbed the camera and headed down to inspect, while I remaining on the deck. Dennis wasn’t home so Sim peaked inside the shed, which actually connects to Dennis’ house. He couldn’t see anything and didn’t want to trespass, so he came back inside our house. I waited and waited to see what, at that point, the unidentified creature was. But it didn’t return to the doorway. I finally went back inside to continue getting ready for the picnic.

After about 10 minutes I heard a whistling sound. I was already in the guest bathroom so I could run to the window and look behind the house And there it was. A cute groundhog sitting in the doorway whistling. After a few seconds it hopped back inside Dennis’ shed, obviously scared to come out just yet.

At that point we thought the creature was a rock marmot since they live down the road at the Coralville reservoir. But after the picnic we looked online and learned it is a groundhog, also known as a woodchuck. Groundhogs don’t look like they lead the most interesting or productive lives, but, to our surprise, they are fascinating creatures. Instead of writing something that has already been written, I’m posting the Wikipedia link:

Some of the most interesting traits of the groundhog include the ability to dig extremely long and deep burrows, hibernate, and climb trees. They are very shy creatures who keep to themselves, so I may not be able to sneak a picture anytime soon, but I’ll be trying.


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