Joe and I would like to tell you all something sort of important but mostly adorable. We are now the proud parents of four, COUNT 'EM FOUR, baby groundhogs. And when I say parents, I mean the kind of parents whose kids run away from them upon sight, and who have to spy on their kids from inside the house as the kids run around the backyard eating bugs or grass or whatever the fuck
I first saw them on Friday, right before I let Max out (luckily I noticed them before opening the door). I saw two little heads peeking out from underneath the shed and thought, "huh...that's weird," because we knew there was one groundhog, so unless that groundhog grew two heads (which also would have been awesome), we had a baby situation. Sure enough, one came all the way out, along with two siblings, and started running around the yard. Joe and I did what any normal people would do upon discovery of their very own nature reserve. We stared at them from various vantage points in the house, running from window to window, and took a million pictures.
We spent the rest of the weekend standing in the basement, staring out the ground-level window at the baby groundhog activities. Joe was not quite as enthralled as I was, choosing to spend some of his weekend sitting on the sofa, so I was the one who saw that there were actually four, not three, groundhog babies. And they were getting braver. Soon they were all over the yard, not just by the shed, crawling around our patio and peeking in our windows. And climbing trees! Did you know groundhogs can climb trees?! I didn't. SCIENCE.
As cute as they were, we knew they couldn't stay. For one thing, Max was going CRAZYPANTS every time they were out, and we couldn't let him outside without first going out and making all sorts of noise so we could scare the groundhogs away. And still, Max would make a beeline right to the shed. I was afraid he was going to get his nose bitten off. Plus, everyone we told was instantly all, "OMG you need to get rid of them, it's really important and serious and blah blah blah," and I know they were all trying to help but dudes...we got this. Calm down, world.
Even though there was no way we were killing the groundhogs (which some people actually suggested, THOSE HEARTLESS BASTARDS), and instead went the live-trap-relocation route (with the help of professionals, there's no way I'm getting mauled by an angry mother groundhog), I still had some completely irrational worries and here they are.
(Before I begin, this was the plan for the mama and her babies: the technician sets traps, checks said traps each day, and, if any groundhogs are caught, he takes them to a designated area to set them free. As he catches groundhogs, he takes each to the same place so, theoretically, they can all find each other once they're all in the same area again. Despite this plan, my worries are threefold:)
1. That the technician will catch all the babies first, but not the mom, and take them to the new location without her but they won't know what to do when they get there because there's no adult to tell them what to do. So they'll eat terrible things and start hanging out with the wrong crowd (squirrels) and turn into little hooligans who are addicted to those black berries you're not supposed to eat (PEETA). Plus also, the mom will be so distraught that her babies are gone that she'll be really depressed. So, yeah, I'm worried about the mom groundhog being sad because I was raised on a steady diet of Disney movies.
2. That he'll catch the mom and three of the babies, leaving one baby behind all alone. ALL ALONE. Like Fievel!
3. Similar to Worry #2, that there are really five babies and we don't know it, so once the tech catches the mom and four babies, he'll think it's all over but really there's this one baby left under our shed who will either die or grow up sad and lonely. (Or I will find it, bring it inside, teach it how to use the litterbox, and dress it in little outfits so I can take Instagram pictures of it.)
That's it, basically. Oh, I'm also kind of worried that when the technician comes to collect the baby groundhogs in the traps, the mom groundhog will bum rush him and maybe eat his face (TOPICAL).
Anyway. Last night, when I got home from work, Joe told me that all four baby groundhogs were in the traps, meaning the mom was all that was left. I tried not to think about how scared the mom probably was when she saw all of her babies in cages but that didn't stop me from saying stuff like this:
Me: When is the guy coming back to check the cages?
Joe: Tomorrow morning.
Me: WHAT. They have to stay out there all night?
Joe: They will be fine.
Me: What if they get hungry?
Joe: There are apples in all of the traps.
Me: Well. OK.
Me: What if they get cold tonight? Do you think I should cover them with a blanket?
Joe left for a while, and while he was gone I opened the window so I could hear if there was any groundhog activity in the backyard. Did you know groundhogs whistle when they're agitated? Because they do. The babies kept whistling from their cages so I tried to console them:
Me, with my face pressed to the window screen: Hey, baby groundhogs. It's OK! Don't worry, you'll be free tomorrow! Did you hear me? Everything will be fine. I LOVE YOU.
Later, when Joe got home:
Me: While you were gone, I almost went outside to put some food in their cages.
Me: I DIDN'T DO IT GEEZ GET OFF MY BACK.
We anticipate the mom being gone soon, meaning the whole family will be back together ASAP. I'm a little sad that we won't be able to watch the baby groundhogs frolic about our yard anymore but it will be nice to be able to let Max outside again. And Joe's pretty excited that I'll no longer be spending all of my free time staring out the back window, draining the battery on my phone by taking a million videos of baby groundhogs eating or running or really just standing there. Still, I'm going to miss them and their little, bucktoothed faces. At least we'll always have pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.
|Prairie doggin' it (that is not what that means)|
|Sad mom groundhog :( :( :( :(|