The Whistlepig

Nearly everyone has seen a groundhog at one time or another. But I don’t think that most people ever really stop and take a good look at them and notice how adorable they are.

Groundhogs have lived here just outside my studio windows for the past several years. One summer mother groundhog even used our hot tub deck as a playpen for her babies. Groundhog babies are just about the cutest things around. I’ve pictured one below.

The groundhog (also known as the woodchuck or whistlepig) is a rodent, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. In areas where food is abundant a groundhog can grow to up to 30 pounds. These animals see the winters through in hibernation.

Here a groundhog is climbing up onto our deck rail. It looks like she is strumming the strings of a horizontal harp. She is surprisingly agile for her plump posterior.

Here she has made it up onto the top of the deck rail. When she decided to descend, she jumped down and landed with a loud thump!

This baby groundhog poses for a picture. He and his little sibling grew up on and under this deck. It was fun to watch them mature…

Yellow-bellied Marmots have the same basic physiology and many of the same habits as the familiar groundhog and are in the same family, but marmots inhabit rocky areas often at very high altitudes. They too, hibernate in winter.

My painting of a yellow-bellied marmot entitled “Inquisitive”…