Mary's Monday Metazoan: We've got company

We've been invaded by a pair of groundhogs who have taken up residence under our deck, and are apparently dining grandly on our weedy overgrown backyard. They're evasive, though, and I've only got this one poor shot of one of them resting in the dappled shade.

ourgroundhog

OK, here's a clearer shot of what they look like from the web.

groundhog

These two are big beasts, and they probably outweigh our cat, who claws frantically at the door to the deck when they make an appearance. I have mixed feelings about their presence -- on the one hand, they have gnawed on things in the past, and now we've got a mating pair -- but on the other hand, they are native Minnesotans. Maybe I should leave them be.

On the third hand, they do look rather plump and meaty, and if we weren't all vegetarian, might be tempting to toss in a stewpot…

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Watch where you walk because the groundhog holes are seemingly optimized to maximize damage to the legs. A shallow hole can twist an ankle. A deep one hit while jogging can destructively hyper-extend the knee.

I've an acquaintance that is passionate about shooting groundhogs. When he was young his horse broke a leg when it stepped into a groundhog burrow and had to be put down.