More Than Just a Meteorologist
2/2/2013 7:05 AM
Groundhog. Woodchuck. Whistle pig. Marmot. Call it what you like, the groundhog is the animal of the day and harbinger of spring. However, it is also an interesting wildlife species native to North Carolina that can be hunted, and may be quite a nuisance to people who would prefer them to refrain from feasting on gardens and burrowing along sidewalks, building foundations and driveways,maybe causing severe structural damage.
Whatever you think of this furry critter, it sure gets a lot of media play. Here are some places we found the whistle pig in pop culture:
- The ever popular tongue twister. You know it. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Turns out, someone knows. Though woodchucks don’t eat wood, they have been known to chew on it. And someone actually found out how much.
- Robert Frost wrote a famous poem about groundhogs, A Drumlin Woodchuck.
- Of course, for the over 21 crowd, there is always Woodchuck Cider.
- Baseball fan? Then you already know the mascot of the Gwinnett Braves is Chopper, a woodchuck.
- Did you know there is a woodchuck reference in “The Big Lebowski?” In the bathtub scene in the movie, the protagonists throw a ferret into the tub with The Dude, played by Jeffrey Bridges. In that scene, and later in the movie, The Dude refers to the ferret as a “marmot,” a nickname for woodchucks that comes from the animal’s genus, Marmota.
- And, of course, there is the 1993 movie starring Bill Murray called “Groundhog Day.”
- Finally, there are the weather predictors that make today famous. Punxsutawney, Penn., has Phil, of course. Charlotte has Queen Charlotte. Grady hails from Chimney Rock, and Nibbles does his work in Asheville. In Raleigh, we have the aptly named Sir Walter Wally.