Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sun Art

Something new for the little garden shed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


woodchuck (Marmota monax)
We noticed this large Illinois herbivorous rodent, the woodchuck (Marmota monax) or groundhog, out sunning on our patio under the deck this afternoon. By the time I fetched the camera, he was hiding out under the stack of firewood behind the house, and attempts to get a closeup view resulted in a rather (for a woodchuck) quick escape (photo above). But we had a calming conversation with him for a while in the garden before he ambled off into the woods.

Habitat Home is a great place for woodchucks, although we rarely see them. They like forest edges but can be found in more open fields, stream banks, railroad embankments, and even residential areas. This little guy will probably start putting on some weight now in preparation for his true hibernation over winter. He will curl up in a burrow, body temperature dropping to 39°F and heart rate to 10 per minute; woodchucks rouse once in a while, and might even emerge briefly on warm winter days, but only rarely on February 2.