A Black Woodchuck With A Yellow Tail In Florida??
An afternoon of golf with my friend Kevin lead to a discovery on about the 6th hole. There were very few golfers out, and we came driving down the path in the golf cart. Ahead was a cute woodchuck, black in color with a yellow belly and yellow tail. I'm very familiar with the species because I spent some of the summer on Mount Rainier, and have been enthralled with them my whole life since playing with them in Tualumne Meadows Yosemite as a child and a youth. Those would be Rock Chucks as they call them, and this guy definitely has those characteristics. He is calm of temperament, and patient to see what we were going to do. When Kevin made squeak noises, the chuck stood up and looked around to see what we were up to.... for quite a while. Then back to his foraging. And again, when I approached with the camera, he stood up, as if to say "what ya got for me?" Wish I had a nice telephoto camera with me, but just had the phone.
I have forwarded this footage to the fish and wildlife commission biologist here in Florida, and await his response.
What do you think? Have we discovered a new species? Is he all alone in Florida with no other woodchucks to be found? Or is he an overgrown squirrel that is mimicking a woodchuck?