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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Woodchuck love Part II

Female woodchuck
(Seneca Falls, NY 3/12)
On Monday night, I swapped out the Cuddeback Capture with a Cuddeback Attack so I could utilize the video feature. When I got home from work today, I spooked the male. He ran to the north and appears to be using a nearby hole, not the one the female is using. I am certain I can tell the two apart. As I mentioned in my last post, the female is reddish while the male is more grizzled. She also has a darker cap than he does. I captured a dozen videos and stills today and will present three of them to you here.
The weather again today was both sunny and unseasonably warm. I expected the ground hogs to take advantage of it. I was not disappointed. For those of you that may not know, the Attack takes a still photo followed by a 30 second video. Here is the still photo and the resulting video. The video shows a nice interaction between the two 'chucks. At the beginning of the video, the male is off to the right of the screen. I don't want to spoil it all for you, but watch how he bites and rubs his cheeks on the vegetation. But it seems the female remains unimpressed:
Male woodchuck
(Seneca Falls, NY 3/12)
And the video:

video


This second video was taken a minute later, so I consider it all part of the same episode. Again, he tries to enter the hole and again he is met with a NO!!!
video


So we have seen the male marking the shrub and the vine that hangs near the entrance to the hole. now have a look at this last still and video. In the still, you can see the female sitting up and facing away from the camera. Check out her back. It appears that she is rubbing against it. Her fur is ruffled up and watch what she does in the video. She is active in the beginning and then seems to fall into a coma for about 15 seconds and then becomes active again at the end. First, the still:
Female woodchuck
(Seneca Falls, NY 3/12)
Now the video:
video



How long will this dance last? Has she rejected him every time? Who knows... And just as I was thinking of how to finish this blog entry I was distracted by the TV I have running for background noise. I am watching Season 2 of Futurama on Netflix (yep, I am THAT kind of geek). And LITERALLY just now the Professor says "The moment our eyes met we knew we would be going at it like woodchucks." (context is not important here, just relish the irony with me). If this male woodchuck is any indication, "going at it" takes a lot of patience and hard work... Perhaps tomorrow.

5 comments:

  1. This. is. so. cool. Very much reminds me of my rabbit who "scented" everything! She was an indoor pet.

    Also, their tails are so bushy and waggy! My preconceived notions of WCs have been blown.

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  2. We like Futurama too!Those woodchucks do appear to have some behavioural similarities with European rabbits though are a bit more sedate in their courtship whilst their tails are far more active.....

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  3. I was just reading in Elbroch's mammal behavior book that the squirrels that spend more time in the trees (like red and the tail of all squirrel tails, gray) have bushier tails while the ones that spend more time on the ground (like chipmunk and prairie dog) have less bushy tails. Woodchucks DO of course climb trees but it seems like their tails are fuller than I would expect based on this "arboreal scale of bushiness" (my words).

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