Saturday, April 6, 2013
Nothing gets rid of winter's last lingering bits like a good day's worth of vigorous spring house-cleaning…and that's exactly what this groundhog was doing when I spotted his roadside burrow. Much to the homeowner's obvious vexation, I paused long enough to study how the sprucing-up was coming along, plus snap a photo of him and his handiwork.
A mound of fresh-dug earth had been removed from his snug under-the-tree tunnel home and formed into a sort of front-door hump. This acts as a soft, cool, shady porch on which ol' woodchuck can loll on sunny days, comfortably and safely surveying the comings and goings within the precincts of his immediate domain. It also acts as a protective shield, and helps hide the hole's mouth from the casual view of any carnivorous passersby who might consider whistle-pig a tasty meal.
Excess soil was pushed over and down the slope. Before long they'll darken to match the rest of exposed earth, while grass and weeds will begin growing in these tailings, adding to the entryway's camouflage.
What's more, this roadside home seems to be located in an apparently coveted neighborhood. Twenty feet away, on the same bank, another groundhog was busy at his hole…and thirty feet from that one, a third ardently worked the dirt at the entrance to his home.
Considering how territorial groundhogs usually are, I don't think this cheek-to-jowl neighborliness will endure through the summer—though time will tell.