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Robert Burns
( - F

Locale: Cascades / Olympics (WET)
Marmot on 02/22/2007 11:59:02 MST Print View

Welcome to my marmot lair

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Rietveld's Marmot Stories on 02/22/2007 12:45:48 MST Print View

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Rietveld's Marmot Stories on 02/22/2007 13:21:23 MST Print View

Just be aware that contrary to some Westerner's belief that Easterner's call Hoary Marmots (Marmota caligata) groundhogs or woodchucks, we don't. At least, some of us don't.

Now, why don't some of us refer to western Marmots as groundhogs or woodchucks? Well, because they're two entirely different animals and this is reflected in their taxonomic classification (groundhog/woodchuck = Marmota monax - same genus as the Marmot, but DIFFERENT species).

So, you see, they are really more like cousins, possibly half-brothers/half-sisters (but i, personally, don't think so - i'd say cousins), but certainly NOT sisters or brothers, at best maybe "kissin' cousins", as the old phrase goes.

So, in conclusion, Marmots are Marmots, and woodchucks are groundhogs, or is it groundhogs are woodchucks, or woodchucks are woodchucks and groundhogs are groundhogs, or...

Woodchucks and groundhogs (i have some livin' in my backyard), are really the same creature (both Marmota monax).

Finally, I'm not sure if y'all out West have any great traditions regarding your Hoary Marmots, but out this way, in the enlightened and educated East, we don't need to use calendars (Why, they could be wrong!!) or science (no need to waste tax dollars commissioning another scientifice research study) to determine the end of the winter season. We have something better, we have "Punxsutawney Phil" the GroundHog and he lives in, you guessed it, Punxsutawney Pennsylvania. Even our eastern children know that if "Phil" (he likes to be called Phil by his close friends) sees his shadow on the morning of GroundHogDay (02feb at or about sunrise) its gonna' be SIX more weeks of winter. However, if he doesn't see his shadow (like this year), then it's only TWO more weeks of winter.

We even like to record this great event for all to see!!!

Note: if the above link doesn't work, try this URL

Anyways, that's how the enlightened Easterner's know when winter's gonna' end.

Again, i'm not sure if the exploits of your western Hoary Marmots are recorded for posterity's sake in song, but we honor our Groundhogs/Woodchucks in song and rhyme. As witness,

"How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" [this can be sung to a little tune by the way]

Now since a woodchuck is really a groundhog, this gives rise to the following query...

"How much ground could a groundhog hog if a groundhog could hog ground?" [which, interestingly enough, can be sung to the same tune as above - hey, maybe BPL's podcasts could adopt this tune, sung in a ever repeating "round" by the BPL Staffers?!!]

To this day only Phil knows the answers to those two questions that have perplexed great thinkers from the time of Archimedes, but Phil ain't talkin'!! So each is, unfortunately, left to his own imaginations on "how much wood" and "how much ground".

Now, don't all you westerner's wish you had a "Punxsutawney Phil"?!!

Edited by pj on 02/22/2007 13:58:31 MST.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Rietveld's Marmot Stories as retold in the Dense Forests of New England on 02/22/2007 14:16:03 MST Print View


It's only 4:12 pm in the Dense Forests of New England. Do you have "watch this thread" set and spend as much time as I thinking "Do I want to get involved with this or should I finish this project that's due before I can leave for my weekend backpacking trip at (insert your favorite mid-winter backpacking area) Point Reyes?"

Edited by redleader on 02/22/2007 14:16:36 MST.