Whistle-Pig, Groundhog, Woodchuck
We were driving from on unsuccessful turkey spot to the next when something dark, short, long and flat crossed the road in front of us. “Baby fisher? no… Huge mink? no…” When we were close enough to see it well he accommodated us by crossing the road again. A Whistle-pig (Marmota monax), more commonly known as ground hog and woodchuck! He disappeared into a tall, hollow, dying tree. Of course I got out for photos but had only my phone camera.
[clickToTweet tweet=”How did the whistle-pig gets its name? Huh. Learning something new all the time! #wildlife #nature ” quote=”Do you know how the whistle-pig got its name?” theme=”style4″]
“pssst…” And he came out. I took a few pictures before he disappeared, scared by a souped up, over done, owned-only-by-a-teenage boy truck. I was a little scared, too, and hoped he was paying attention to the road rather than the crazy lady taking pictures of a tree. The truck passed, our ears stopped ringing, and I made kissy noises to him. The whistle-pig popped out again. I suspect he’s friendly with the people who live across the street. I think if I’d sat down and waited a few minutes he’d have come to me. Before he got ideas of coming over for a scritch behind the ears, I left. Cute little critters long as he’s not my garden.
We’ve seen a lot of whistle-pigs on our travels this spring, and I’ve learned that not only do they live in hollow trees, they climb trees. In all my years outdoors I’ve never seen a whistle-pig up a tree, and now I’m looking for one.
When alarmed they give out a high-pitched whistle to warn other whistle-pigs of impending doom. I think Groundhog’s Day should be renamed Whistle-Pig Day. It’s catchy, has a better ring than woodchuck and groundhog. Can’t you picture Bill Murray starring in Whistle-Pig Day? Enough already. My silliness is over. Enjoy the day!