Saturday, June 25, 2016

A new furry friend

Earlier this afternoon, my chicken, Athena, had a bit of a squawking fit.  Athena is the only hen left after a predator took out the rest of my flock over a year ago.  I'm not sure what the predator was, but I somewhat suspect raccoons.  In any case, Athena is understandably a little bit dramatic about anything that makes her nervous.  I went out to investigate the cause of her commotion, and I couldn't see anything that looked out of place.  She is in a large dog crate during the daytime, out on the grass, until we build her new coop - so she is safe.  I peeked around the corner of the house and there I saw a furry little bottom disappearing around the corner.  Ah-hah!  So it wasn't just a falling leaf or a large dragonfly giving Athena the jitters!

I rushed inside, grabbed my camera, and stealthily crept out into the backyard to see if I could find the owner of the furry bottom.  Sure enough, I heard a little scrabbling noise under the former homeowner's dog house.  I peered underneath (it's raised up on a platform) and saw that furry bottom going out the other side.  I slowly made my way around so I could see the back of the dog house. There was the furry front end glaring at me - a groundhog!

I took a picture from quite a distance, not expecting to be able to get much closer.  You can just see him right in the middle of the picture.  I thought he'd dash off as I tried to approach for a better shot.

He was surprisingly obliging about being photographed though!  He let me get within about 10 feet of him before toddling off.  I love his brown "sleeves" - what a cute little critter.

I watched for a while and he went back under the dog house, and then poked his head out as if to see if I was still there.  I was, so I talked softly to him and said I was just watching if he didn't mind too much, and that I was quite happy to have him in the yard.  He seemed to listen, just watching me quietly.

After a while he went around to the front of the dog house where there are concrete pavers, and he lay flat out on them.  I think they are cool, and perhaps that helped him feel cooler because it was a warm day.  He flattened out very well, but when he heard my footstep, he came back up on his front paws.  I did manage to get a rather good picture of him though, as he sat there on the pavers.

A bit later, I saw him again and got a picture of him on the edge of the woods.  It appears that he's been in a fight or something because he has a patch of fur on his right rear haunch that is short or maybe missing.

Again I sat and watched him for a while and he eventually turned and trotted off into the woods, waving his little bottle-brush tail behind him.  I hope I'll see this groundhog again - its lovely to have wildlife visiting!


Michelle said...


thecrazysheeplady said...

I think they're cute :-).

12Paws said...

Yes, interesting little guys. I had one who wanted his winter dwelling under my deck, which was beside a filled in outside entrance to the basement. He piled up an unbelievable amount of sand as a result of his digging. He was finally discouraged when one morning he looked up and my 3 kitties and me peering at him thru an open window just above his project. He was especially cute carrying straw in mouth from my garden to make his warm winter bed.

angela said...

He is very cute. We don't have groundhogs here in Australia Do they kill chickens? We have foxes that get to ours so we need to make sure they are locked up at night. Thanks for sharing