Groundhog © Lang Elliott The screams of two groundhogs fighting, plus commentary. 6pm, 20 March, 2016, near Ithaca, New York. © Lang Elliott.

Late this afternoon I went on a nature walk near where I live. While ambling along a trail through the forest, I was startled by loud screaming, coming from a large pile of brush right next to the trail. Luckily I had my iPhone, so I started recording the screams and peered into the brush, wondering what the ruckus was all about. There I spied two groundhogs, locked together in a fight. A large one was overpowering a smaller one and the loser was crying bloody murder (I believe the underdog was doing most of the noise-making).

I was thrilled to record the encounter, but was completely surprised when the two groundhogs suddenly rushed out of the brush and on to the trail, heading right for my legs. I jumped to the side, but the biggest groundhog turned and ran after me. Luckily, it stopped after ten feet or so, turned around, and pursued the little one again. I approached the two, hoping to get another recording. Then the big one chased me again, before finally scurrying into brush on the other side of the trail.

With a little searching, I discovered the smaller groundhog cowering among the shrubs. It looked as if it was in shock, but perked up a bit on my approach. Fortunately, I was able to get a nice photograph, which I’ve featured above. He/she wasn’t bleeding, so perhaps will be okay. I’ll know for sure tomorrow when I go back to the spot to see if the poor little guy is still there.

Can you imagine that? I went for a relaxing nature walk and ended up getting chased by an angry groundhog. I’m sure glad I didn’t get bit … it might very well have been rabid! What I won’t do to get an exciting nature recording!

NOTE: See new post Raccoon Fight for comparison … if you hear these kinds of sounds at night, the sound-makers are most likely to be raccoons, not groundhogs!

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