While away – a wild creature moved in

woodchuck Google photo

woodchuck Google photo

Woodchuck (Marmota monax). Also known as groundhog and marmot.

Well, I am back from DC but still not up to stuff.  A few days ago I noticed a fuzzy medium-sized animal in a tree. He was grabbing small, lime green colored leaves to eat. I thought to myself, “Isn’t he a sweet looking animal.” I called my sister in MA. She thought it might be a woodchuck. It turns out it is. Copyright photo is by Marg Rines. Photo was on Goggle.

Today, I was out in the back yard when he popped his head out of the den. I said hello softly and walked away slowly. Within a matter of minutes he came outside of his den and then made a dash to his home again. I can watch him from the house. He appears to be enjoying the grass which I haven’t cut so far this season. I am working on creating more prairie and less lawn. First thing I need to do is get the fence up so the Minong Senior Center next door won’t mind my sustainable way of living.

Last year after the blow-down of 100 mph winds tore up the 1/2 acre around the house, I decided to turn the property into an edible landscape and wildlife habitat. Never did I dream that I would be gone only one week to Washington, DC, and a new neighbor would move right in.

I hope we can coexist together and that we won’t find each other a bother. I did some reading up on my new neighbor. He likes to eat grass, clover, and other forbs. Sometimes a woodchuck will eat insects and small birds.  I sure hope he doesn’t take a liking to my crop gardens. I also hope he doesn’t tear up the whole back property. I understand that he does have a deep den and an escape route. I think I saw the escape hole. I had already turned this area into prairie with native wild roses and chokecherry trees in 2011.

A few years ago photo of campfire pit with my dog Tia

A few years ago photo of campfire pit with my dog Tia

If any of you out there know more about the woodchuck, I sure would appreciate a few words from your own personal experience. I know that he will probably like to be out on the property in the early morning. This is usually when I go outside (in season) and do Tai chi. I also like to garden so I am outside most days when the days are warmer. I understand that he likes to be outside in late afternoons. It will be interesting to see if we can get along together. No, I do not think of him as a pet. The woodchuck is a wild animal.



  1. Cheri Hillsdale said,

    April 20, 2012 at 12:48 am

    Hi Mary Ellen, Finally got around to catching up on some old reading “to dos”. How are you and your new neighbor faring?

    • April 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      I was happy to see you yesterday and share the woodchucks home with you. From the wild kingdom, Mary Ellen

    • April 28, 2012 at 11:44 am

      After I showed you his residence hole, I haven’t seen him at all. Could he be digging his way through the underground to get away from human activity in my backyard? Time will tell.

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