Man versus groundhog

July 9th, 2009

Mittons forraging

I was at the bench today and looked out my backyard window and saw this little guy foraging around. “Mittens”, as I like to call him, is a groundhog that lives in the bank of a stream at the end of my property. It’s hard to ever get a good look at him because, as rotund as he is, he usually skitters away before I can get anywhere nearby. But like many animals, he’s apparently susceptible to predators behind glass which is where I took photos of him.

Now that I think about it, I did have a previous, odd encounter with Mittens a few years ago. I was detailing my now estranged Mustang, “Sally”, and all of the sudden I see this huge mass of an over-sized, rat-like creature blazing towards me. I jumped back about 5 feet and yelled for a particular matriarchal family member as the rush of life and death encounter with nature consumed me.

After calming down and changing my pants (people who know me, know I have a tendency to piddle during such events) I get on all fours and look under to see it’s just Mittens chilling under my car. I had never seen him in front of my home so I guess he got a little lost and as it was an extremely hot summer day he was probably just ducking for cover and catching his breath. So I resume detailing the car assuming he will leave at some point.

Not the case… as I finished up, I got back on all fours (my standard workplace position) and tried to talk him out… he went with the “if I don’t move, he can’t see me” tactic and continued to lay there, motionless. I started nicely with “hey, little buddy, time to go”, then shouting “boo!” and lastly, in desperation, tried your momma insults such as “your momma is so ugly everyone thinks she’s a possum”. Not even an acknowledgment of my existence (Mittens win).

A Hot Mittons is an unhappy Mittons

A Hot Mittens is an unhappy Mittens

Needing to move my car and having little desire to get his innards all gummed up in there, I switch to plan B and try to poke him with a stick. It got him to move, but he would just continually move out of poking distance (Mittens win). Time for plan C, I get in the car and lay on the horn like there’s no tomorrow. Amazingly, no signs of retreat or surrender by the groundhog, just a few cross-eyed glances by passers-by as they just see the unstable individual honking at his garage door (Mittens win).

A disinterested Mittons

A disinterested Mittens

Finally with plan D there is success. I grabbed pepper spray and a stun gun…. kidding PETA, I just squirted him with a hose and he ran away defeated by the more intelligent species… or he ran away thinking “it took that idiot till plan D to figure out that I just wanted to be hosed down to cool off” (I win?).

Coy Mittons

Coy Mittens

Why is common wildlife so amazing to me? Well, I live in NJ (exit 4, so you don’t have to ask). While NJ is nicknamed “the Garden State”, as decreed by our license plates, the only thing we seem to be growing anymore is condos. In my backyard is one of the remaining 56 49 (I originally wrote this a couple months ago) trees in the state. So when I see some wildlife in my backyard, it always intrigues me…. along with the natural curiosity if I could capture and kill it for sustenance in a survival situation.

Mittons being Mittons

Mittens being Mittens

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  1. July 10th, 2009 at 12:07 | #1

    There is enough fur there to make a pair of mittens…sorry PETA, but its true. That’s why animals grow fur, so I can have clothes.

  2. July 12th, 2009 at 08:21 | #2

    Thanks for the chuckle! Or, is that woodchuckle?

  3. July 15th, 2009 at 08:28 | #3

    I suspect I shouldn’t tell you that leaving some Double Bubble by his hole will………..alright I won’t tell you.

  4. July 15th, 2009 at 09:31 | #4

    Will be a treat?? I never knew that… I’m guessing they like to blow bubbles? Well, I guess we know what Mittens is getting for his next birthday.

  5. July 23rd, 2009 at 11:23 | #5

    Now I want a groundhog in my backyard. We have multitudes of prairie dogs where i’m from, and they are not nearly as appealing.
    Had to grin at the “if I don’t move he can’t see me” description. Have to admit, it is a ploy I’m grateful for – gives me a chance to see critters that would otherwise be no more than a flitting shadow.

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