I’ve been meaning to write about this all week, but with a hectic household and a big project at work…well, you know how that goes.
So, last Sunday was Mother’s Day, and my parents dropped by to spend the day with Ginny, Logan, and me. We had just returned from a great family brunch and my mom and I were in the front yard chatting when I turned around and saw a juvenile groundhog perched on our front walk. It’s not uncommon to see groundhogs rooting around the edge of the nearby woods, and indeed we have a lot of rabbits hopping around in our neighborhood, but I’d never before seen a critter so brazenly eavesdropping on a conversation.
He was perfectly still…it was rather dramatic. I figured he’d bolt if I made any sort of move, but on the contrary, as soon as he noticed me, he actually started scampering in my direction. Not wanting to seem afraid of a wee groundhog, I casually backed away, but he continued to pursue me around the yard. When I finally stopped, he crawled closer and began to nuzzle my foot. Cautiously, and fully expecting him to sink his little incisors into my flesh, I gently patted his head. And then his back. This was the most docile wild animal I’d ever seen. Within a few minutes, he was sitting in my lap. I suspect that this is what Snow White must’ve felt like.
Of course, everyone had to come out and see the amazing groundhog, including Logan. He was curious but chose not to let the strange little visitor get too close. We got him a pinch of spinach and some water and invited him to the backyard. We named him Philip J. Whistlepig (Phil for short). I consulted Wikipedia (the foremost authority on everything worth knowing) and read up on Marmota monax, so now I’m something of a groundhog expert.
Even Ginny was pretty receptive to Phil (and I have more pictures and video to prove it), although she did remark of him crashing her special day, “Who does he think he is? It’s Mother’s Day, not Groundhog Day!”
Every evening this week, we’ve ventured out after work with fresh food to see if Phil is still hanging around. And of course, he is.
Phil really likes spinach but will also eat apples, walnuts, and even cat food. He’ll come when you call him, and Logan even lets Phil “chase” him around the yard (if you’ve ever seen a groundhog move, it’s not much of a chase, check out the video below), all the while screaming “Run for your lives!”
He’s not much of a climber, but hoist him up into your lap, and he’ll will eagerly curl up and go right to sleep, which seems to be his favorite pastime. He’s a welcome guest for a while longer, but there will come a day soon when he’ll need to return to the wild, lest he invite his friends to our backyard oasis. One groundhog is a party, but we’re not running a wildlife sanctuary here. Besides, nothing’s more annoying than an obnoxious groundhog.