Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Whistle Pig or a Woodcharlene?

I’ve been enjoying the little tubby presence of our backyard woodchuck.  He’s out a lot in the evenings chomping on our grass, and at the slightest sound will run back to his den underneath our shed, his rolls of fat rippling as he skedaddles.  He’ll also sit up like a prairie dog and sniff for signs of danger.

Our neighbors told me that there is a difference between a groundhog and a woodchuck, and what we had was a groundhog, but I looked it up and they were wrong.  A groundhog and a woodchuck are the same beast and are occasionally known as a whistle pig, since they will whistle to alert other woodchucks of impending danger!  Now I want to hear our guy whistle!

One article I read also pointed out that a woodchuck has nothing to do with wood (and therefore a female is NOT a woodcharlene, much though that made me snicker); their name comes from “wuchak” which is what the Algonquins and Narragansetts called them.

Although this article admonished the reader for wanting to call a female a woodcharlene, the author did say that it was correct to refer to a male as a he-chuck and a female as a she-chuck.  However, since I have no idea what the gender of our tenant is, that doesn’t help me much.  I’m keeping an eye out for the appearance of cubs, which would clue me into realizing my moppet is a she-chuck.  But then I’d worry about Dorothy getting ahold of a cub, and whereas Dorothy doesn’t seem to have a big prey drive, I don’t want to put that to the test with a little brown bundle of furbaby. 

In the meantime I am enjoying peeking out my window in the evenings and watching the fellow enjoy his salad.

1 comment:

Martha said...

A wood-charlene?!?! A she-chuck? How positively wonderful! It makes me miss our neighborhood woodchuck, who we can no longer see because of our fence.