Alarm Call

SAM_0920Holy crap! Why, in all these years of living in the country, have I never before heard a woodchuck alarm call?

Here I was innocently watering the new grass, with my back to the woodchuck hole (formerly known as the clean fill beneath the garage), and all of a sudden there were three blood curdling screaming whistles loud enough to hurt my ears, followed by a long trill.

I looked up, of course, expecting to see a pterodactyl, maybe an Amazon drone equipped with anti-Walmart air-to-ground missiles. But there was nothing.

Then it happened again. I cannot emphasize how LOUD this thing is. Like there’s an invisible woman being murdered not three feet away by an equally invisible assailant.

And I’m next.

I swung around to defend myself with the hose sprayer, thoroughly soaking the apricot tree. (We’re not sure it’s really an apricot. That’s what the tag said, but in 5 years it has thus far not managed a single bloom.) I blasted the asparagus and the garage windows and everything in between, still looking up over my head for the source of the screaming.

And then, I thought–could it be the woodchuck?


SHRIEK! SHRIEK! SHRIEK! Chuck, chuck, chuck, chuck, chuck . . . .



Apparently a woman with a hose is a scary thing in woodchuck land.

I sprayed the entrance to the woodchuck hole with lots of water just because I could, and while I unloaded on the woodchuck (who had the presence of mind to scoot further back into the hole), I couldn’t help but notice the strong scent of mothballs.

You know. The five boxes of moth balls we tossed into that hole last fall, because mothballs are a woodchuck repellant.SAM_0923


5 thoughts on “Alarm Call

  1. You write in such a humorous style, Nancy! And yes, unfortunately they just dig those mothballs back out… πŸ™‚ Thanks for the warning, though. I’ve never heard any of my many woodchucks make that sound (I must not be threatening enough), but it sounds like I don’t WANT to hear it! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, Susan! πŸ˜€ The little bugger sure did surprise me.

      Afterwards I googled for a woodchuck alarm call, and the one I found is similar, but not nearly so shrill and loud. I think this chuck was extra scared because he’s only half grown, and he’d probably never seen a hose before today.

  2. Hi Nancy! This is your neighbor Faith Farrell from down the road. I know this is probably the wrong was to send you this message… I should probably call you but I avoid talking on phones whenever possible. πŸ˜€

    I know you had that fox den that you kept an eye on, is it still there? And have you seen a skinny fox with almost no tail fur going in or out recently? Because my Dad had a surprise this morning when he took Shep the Collie outside- the fox was in the dog’s pen. Right in the pen, and it looked kinda mangy. It ran when it was yelled at, but it looked sick. I messaged Fish and Game and I’ll email the police later, just so they’ll know if they get a call about it.

    Just wanted to let you know, and ask if you had seen it. πŸ˜€

    • I have seen it. Looks like mange, or maybe just a horrific case of tick infestation. I’m pretty sure it’s the kit that was born under my garage last year – never did look all that healthy, and there’s something odd with its eyes. I’m not sure what can be done for the poor thing. 😦 It wasn’t thin when I saw it maybe a week ago, but it’s having an awfully tough time of it.

      The burrow had no foxes this year, just woodchucks.

  3. Aha. That’s sad! That kit was the hard-boiled egg baby from last year when it appeared to be abandoned isn’t it? That stinks, to see it so sad looking now.
    Where is it living? If it’s not in the den, do you see it traveling in and out of anywhere else specific? Thank you for the info! πŸ™‚

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