Monday, September 10, 2007

Treehogs

Click to enlarge. Can you see the treehog?

Here is the foot path near the river below the hospital grounds. We had rain yesterday and the air was clean and cooler than the heavy, hot humidity experienced last week. My co-worker pointed out a creature in the tree above the trail. Was that a groundhog? I took this quick picture in case the animal bolted before we got any closer.

Sure enough, it was a groundhog, at least 3 meters above the ground. I never knew they climbed trees. But Wikipedia says they are good climbers and swimmers. Most of the groundhogs I see are dead along the roadway.

The "treehog" tired of our attention, turned around and scurried down the tree trunk to become a groundhog once again.
Seems to me I don't know much about one of our most common wild animals.

12 comments:

  1. When we did an exhibit on mammals, I learned a great deal. I was surprised to see the groundhog listed as our biggest squirrel. I didn't know it was related to squirrels... other than by its mammalness.

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  2. I didn't know groundhogs could climb either. I do know they are destructive and gardeners and groundskeepers are supposed to despise them, but I have always thought they were cute!

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  3. I'm with Lynne--I think they're cute too. I almost never see them in the wild and have yet to see one in my yard or in a tree. I've heard they can dig some pretty big holes....usually in someone's nicely landscaped urban backyard, so I guess that's why people don't like them around much.

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  4. That's new to me. I've only seen them on the ground, munching away my garden vegetables! I hear they are fierce fighters and can do severe damage to a dog, so I'm not too fond of them but I do think they are very cute.

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  5. Who knew? Groundhogs can climb? They seem so clumsy on the ground.

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  6. Ha! Who knew? I've never seen one being a treehog either!

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  7. I have seen these guys climbing trees before but not this high! Don't fall buddy! Although, I do see them all the time on picnic tables! Great post, loved seeing these pictures and had to enlarge them for better looks!

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  8. I've never seen a groundhog climb a tree!Are you sure you didn't put it up there just to toy with us?
    nice photo!

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  9. Well, you learn something new everyday (who knew groundhogs possessed such a skill???)

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  10. Jennifer- That is interesting. I just hope the groundhog doesn't try to jump like a squirrel!

    Lynne- I have never heard complaints about groundhogs, except from farmers. I can see how they would cause problems for machinery.

    RuthieJ- I agree that they are cute, but I wouldn't want one as a pet.

    Mary- I have seen many on the fields where we walk the dog. They always run away when we approach. But the dog has never tried to go into their burrow either.

    KGMom- Yes, next thing I know, someone will tell me that beavers climb trees too. Some body builds are not conducive to tree climbing in my mind.

    Jayne- If I see one swimming, I will have to call it a water hog.

    Monarch- I must say, I didn't want to walk under the tree as I had the feeling it might drop on my head (or drop something on my head)

    Larry- I am no good at Photo Shop games. And I don't think I could have dreamed this one up! :-)

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  11. Hi Ruth - when I first saw the second picture, I automatically thought "marmot." After googling that term I realized that groundhogs and marmots are the same or at least quite similar. I don't remember seeing groundhogs when I grew up, but I did see a few marmots occasionally while living in Colorado. I know they also exist in the Sierras. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. Mary C- According to the Wiki link in this post, groundhogs are lowland marmots and are not common in the western part of the continent. The highlands and mountains have their own type of marmot. Something else I learned!

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