A popular outdoorsman TikToker recently learned why groundhogs are called “whistle pigs.”
We have to admit that we didn’t even know the giant rodents had such a nickname until we watched a post on Cam Herbolsheimer’s Camventures page.
In a short video, we can hear a high-pitched noise that he originally thought was “some kind of emergency whistle.” Thinking someone was in trouble, he followed the sound. When he tracked down the source, he saw the noise was strangely coming from a groundhog.
The clip has brought in around 3 million views to watch, and nearly all the people who watched are just as surprised by the sound as us. And it gave several people the epiphany moment that you may have had.
“WAIT. IS THIS WHY THEY’RE CALLED WHISTLEPIGS?” one follower asked.
Groundhogs Whistle to Warn of Dangers
Groundhogs are actually highly communicative animals. Aside from whistling, they also make crying, growling, hissing and clicking sounds. And sometimes, they’ll use their tails to make loud slapping sounds.
Whistling is a defensive sound that they rarely make, which is why the video is so shocking. Only certain sub-species use the noise and it’s to protect their burrow or warn others of impending danger.
Whether Herbolsheimer is the original danger is unclear. But as he gets closer to the groundhog, its sound gets higher and longer. So, the marmot was likely afraid of him and or the dog he had with him.
“Translation: There’s a human and a dog and they’re coming closer,” another person joked.
“It’s because of you and your puppy dog. Sweet,” another commented. “Warning the townsfolk of strangers. I wouldn’t trust humans either. How cute are they?”
Commenters also shared that the whistling can be “super painful” to human or predator ears if they get too close. And someone else noted that people shouldn’t go looking for strange noises in the wild because they may not like what they find.
The theory was actually backed up by another hiker who said that he learned to steer clear of whistling pigs because they can draw dangerous predators to the area.
“A park ranger once told me that because they make that sound it’s a bad idea to go hiking with a whistle in bear country, bears hear a snack,” someone shared.
We also learned another fun fact in the comments. Groundhogs are native to Whistler BC, and apparently, the frequent calls they make from the mountain tops is what gave the city its name.