Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How much milkweed can a woodchuck chuck?

This was what the garden looked like in the middle of the recent drought. The bee-balm, creeping thyme, and native grasses held it all together.

But the down-side of a wildlife garden is that, well, it attracts wildlife!

Something is going to be eaten. This fellow is fat from eating my plants.

Milkweed? Seriously??

I had thought the damage to the milkweed tops was due to insects, or maybe a deer with an iron stomach.

The woodchuck bends the whole plant over to graze the top.

I watched him do the same to the bee-balm, but instead of eating the tops, he ate the leaves from the bottom of each stalk. And here I though they just shed their lower leaves naturally!

Nom nom nom nom.

I can't believe that any mammal can stomach milkweed. But he obviously prefers it, because these same plants keep getting eaten.

I call this a successful ecosystem garden.

Yup, I see you.


Diana said...

Oh, so cute! I like woodchucks. I hope you have a large enough garden to support her, I think a woodchuck would devastate my small garden in no time at all and need to move on.

If it managed to get past the dogs.

My dogs seriously limit the wildlife in my yard. One of them is a former feral dog and he will catch and eat anything he can.

MAT kinase said...

Haha awesome!

Michelle said...

Thanks guys. :D

The woodchuck lives under our porch and usually dines out back, in and around the meadow, but apparently he also likes the front now.

Pam J. said...

Great shots of a familiar garden resident! A family -- we always call them "groundhogs" which never sounds as cute as "woodchucks" -- lives just over my property line in an adjacent park. I see them waddling back away from my gardens looking full and satisfied.

I think I too blame the deer for eating what groundhogs are entirely capable of eating.

Nom nom nom nom.

UrsulaV said...

Now I am wondering if the mysterious eater of my whorled milkweed (and cup plant, and pokeweed) was not actually a deer as I had suspected, but one of our local woodchucks!

hero爺 said...

What great shots these are!
Is he/she your pet?
As if it were your pet!
HA ha ha ha !!!!!!!

Dori said...

That woodchuck is seriously adorable.

jill levine said...

very cute. i have a guy who re dug under my home.Do not know if he just came back or if it is a newbie.but .well all off a sudden a had bald flowers. so far we have not attacked my cucumbers in my hay bales. I do not want to kill him or scare him ..he can stay .just want him to leave the stuff alone..so i have been tossing celery apply carrot cucumber ends .an errant cherry here and there some peanuts and popcorn in the hole .so maybe he will leave my flowers alone..so i looked up to see what kind of weeds they eat . i have lots of milkweed and suck ,queen annes lace daisy's in the yard. I think when my neighbor did the last mowing . it scared this guy back under the house,, because it is mid july and suddenly he is here . So i guess i will go weed picking and deliver, so maybe he will leave my good alone. Love your photos

Anonymous said...

At least one of our 2 current woodchucks avidly eats wild milkweed. The woodchucks get along okay with our cat (who does kill birds and rodents). We lose a few flowers (mostly asters) to the woodchucks, but they mostly eat weeds. We enjoy their visits to our gardens.

Jan Rose said...

I have the honor of having an entire family of Woodchucks living in my backyard in the city. They have their tunnels and outlets around. I have a momma, daddy, (big guy), and 3 itsy bitsy babies that look a little like hedgehogs. I adore them.