Sunday, February 9, 2014

his last groundhog day

Groundhog (Marmota monax) R.I.P.

Six days after Groundhog Day I spied my first of the Rubenesque rodents of 2014. 

Although it wasn't vertical, but horizontal, roadkill in the middle of a south bound lane of Chapman Highway. For it, there will not be six more weeks of winter. As cold and dreary as the last four weeks have been, some will say it took an easy out.

The first groundhogs that stir any given year are the males, in search of females. Hubba-hubba. The genders hibernate in separate winter burrows deep underground. As the temperatures begin to moderate, the males trundle around outside sniffing the entrances of nearby holes. I have read that the burrows of receptive females smell like chicken soup, an inviting aroma to an animal-boy that has been asleep for three months.

One year I tested this at the nature center and sniffed the entrance to several groundhog holes. All seemed to smell like gazpacho, a summer soup as cold as the recently deceased Chapman Highway groundhog.

You know, I never have really liked gazpacho.


troutbirder said...

I really enjoyed your posts especially of the birds. We stopped in nearby Maryville a week ago to visit some friends on our way home from a short vacation in Florida...

Stephen Lyn Bales said...

Well darn. If I had known I would have invited you over to the nature center.