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Angry Groundhog

Posted on Jul 7, 2016

This is one angry looking Groundhog, Whistlepig, or Woodchuck (Marmota monax)…you can use any name, but this rodent was not happy with me. It was not my fault, I swear! Do you know what the problem is here? I was standing on a porch, and under this porch happens to be a burrow with young groundhogs. Every time I have seen one of them they scurry away as fast as can be in a non-stealthy manner back into the closest entrance to the burrow. However, this parent was not pleased, and no scurrying happened after we startled one another with a stare down commencing.



Those two huge incisors can be seen well in the second shot, and I know those claws would be dangerous weapons if directed at any animal – including me. After taking these couple of photos for a few seconds I decided to go back inside my “burrow” and let it sort things out. Keep in mind this was with a 500mm lens and we were not very close anyway. You are likely to run into wildlife with young in the spring and summer, and you should always be very cautious. Parents of any species will defend their children with ferocity and boldness you may not expect, just as we do. It is best to steer clear of upsetting them, slowly and quietly leaving the area whether it is a bird doing a distraction display on the beach or a mammal showing you its teeth. Oh, and I did see that tick on its ear – you should keep checking yourself, too!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator