Friday, May 26, 2006

What The....?

Does anyone know what this little creature is?

S/he's been coming out from the narrow strip of woods that separates the houses on my street from the houses on the cul-de-sac behind us and has been hanging out in my yard quite a bit lately, despite the fact that I have four cats (some lawn lions THEY are!). S/he seems to love the tall grass cover (landscaping hasn't been high on the priority list lately) and munching dandilions and a particular variety of something that I've yet to identify but that seems to grow well in the yard.

As best as I can tell, s/he's not a beaver; though we live near-ish to a pond, the tail doesn't seem significant enough to indicate beaverism. Is s/he a woodchuck? A groundhog? Anyone?


Blogger Suzanne said...

That would be the North American woodchuck (at least, according to my brother who had one in his garden). Get your hands on a have-a-heart trap, and take him for a loooooooong drive somewhere. But don't get too close -- they have really nasty claws. And don't bother planting any veggies in your garden until after he's gone.

Of course, there is probably someone out there who will bring up the valid point that there may be baby woodchucks around somewhere.....but I digress.

Give him a verbal eviction notice, then get him out!

12:09 PM  
Blogger Wayfarer said...

The animal in your photo looks like a groundhog/woodchuck. The tail is the distinctive feature to me. Groundhogs the only large rodent around here with a bushy tail like that. Here's a general description. Tell me if it matches.

They're about 16 - 27 inches in length, or about the size of a large domestic cat. They have short legs and a medium-long, bushy and somewhat flattened tail. They have long, coarse fur on their backs which is grizzled, and grayish brown with a yellowish or reddish cast.

We had a family of them in the neighborhood a couple of years ago digging holes all over the place (one right up against the basement wall to our house!). They're gone now, but exactly how that happened is a mystery. Certainly nothing WE did at Wayfarer House was effective.

The meat is decent, from what I've been told. I've never eaten it myself (though I was tempted a couple of years ago to fire up the grill). Apparently, it tastes like rabbit. I like rabbit. Let me know if you catch him. I'll be over with the charcoal. ;]

1:51 PM  
Blogger Wayfarer said...

...or you can listen to my wife, who managed to post before I did.

1:53 PM  
Blogger vanx said...

That's a close relative to Mr. Clam. Mr. Clam is a woodchuck that lives in our yard. Lydia spotted him when she was two or three and named him. Mr. Clam is an blonde, however. Lydia also named a male cardinal that lives in our hemlock trees Mr. Daily. The names stuck. I think Clam eats my pears in cahoots with squirrels that knock them off the tree. Clam is a bastard.

8:23 AM  
Anonymous Weed Woman said...

Oh Oh... Caddy Shack revisited. Get out the plastic explosives... or visit here for a true woodchuck education!

8:54 PM  
Blogger Mrs.Chili said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA!! Plastic explosives are not necessary, WeedWoman - you've seen my yard; there's nothing worth defending against! The only things that are growing amidst all the construction debris are the garlic chives you gave me last year and some disappointingly meagre rhubarb - neither of which seems to interest the beastie very much.

I do have to say, though, that the appearance of the creature is good comedy fodder around our house (not that there's a lack of comedy fodder around our house, mind you). We tease the cats mercilessly about their lousy territorial instincts, and the fact that when the beastie last made an appearance, ALL FOUR of them were sacked out on or near the front porch. "Lawn Lions" my ass!

6:25 AM  
Blogger gerry rosser said...

I guess I have somewhat of a childish/quirky approach to things, so I call these little creatures "groundchucks." At least I think it's funny.

3:33 PM  

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