woodchuck vs. groundhog

Around here, when people talk about Marmota monax, they use the appellation "groundhogs". I grew up calling Marmota "woodchucks". Same animal, just a local difference. I'm not changing what I call it. They'll have to get used to it.

Lisa's mom wants to believe that Rocko tangled with a woodchuck rather than a snake. She hasn't seen his injuries yet, but I doubt that we could change her mind anyway.

She also conflates the behavior of muskrats and raccoons with woodchucks; for example, she thinks that woodchucks make their burrows in the banks of streams like a muskrat and take their food to the water to wash it like a raccoon.

They are vegetarians, for God's sake. I cannot imagine a woodchuck carrying a posy of clover to the creek before eating it, unless it had been listening to the news and wanted to avoid Salmonella.


I realize that she's from the mountains and a lot of the rodents' behavior might not be as obvious to her as it was for me, growing up on flatter, more open land, where it was easier to see the difference between woodchucks, muskrats and raccoons. But it is so frustrating to try to educate people who have eight decades of misinformation in their heads.

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