Woodchuck, Gopher, Groundhog. Aliases all.

A Royal Visit from a Woodchuck is an honor. Although maybe a painful one.

There is no animal quite as full of himself as a woodchuck when he is sauntering into your garden to pillage. He carries himself with the bearing of a duke coming to check out his feudal holdings. Even when he climbs over the fence you have so carefully constructed, he does so with a regal air.

But apparently, when it comes to hibernation, Mr. Woodchuck is king. Once the air temperature hits forty degrees, he’s out for the count until March or April and during that time he loses half his body weight. Then, I guess, he has to buy a whole second wardrobe to complement his new physique, because he must look pretty svelte.

Of course, hibernation is not only a great weight loss idea. It’s also an effective way to hide from criminal prosecution since a woodchuck is out of sight for about six months and when he reappears he looks like a totally different guy.

Of course, woodchucks aren’t usually identified as criminals in the first place because they wear beaver masks when they rob food banks. And, obviously, there are the aliases. Groundhog. Gopher. Whistle Pig. Toothy Malone. Everyone knows beavers are trouble.

This explains why one rarely sees a wanted poster for a woodchuck at the local post office.

However, if you should happen to see a woodchuck in person, exercise caution. And courtesy. Consider how best one might approach a gangland Mob boss. Well, probably one should avoid approaching one at all, But if you should have to do so, here is the etiquette.

Be polite. Keep a reasonable distance. And bring an offering of uprooted plants from your garden. He’ll like that.

It won’t stop him from eating everything else you planted, but that doesn’t mean you should be rude.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

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