Jeff Permar of Middletown, Delaware, was determined to find the culprit who has been nibbling on his veggie garden and causing severe damage to his crops. In all his 20 years of gardening, he'd never seen so much damage. “Everything I was planting was getting eaten to shreds.”
Permar has a suspicion that the veggie culprit has been living under his shed. In order to try and catch the culprit, he installed a motion-detecting camera nearby and waited. Finally the camera captured footage of the animal who was guilty for most of the damage: a groundhog. The groundhog, whom Permar named Chunk, snatched a piece of a veggie sat down to eat it right in front of the camera. Jeff recalls that Chunk “looked straight into the camera like he was saying, ‘Yeah, I'm here. I'm eating your garden. What are you going to do about it?’”
Chunk had a ravenous appetite, and certainly wasn't a picky eater. The camera captured footage of him chowing down on practically everything in the garden, from apples to tomatoes to carrots to broccoli. Permar admits that he was a little upset at first, but that none of his attempts to deter Chunk, including building a fence, worked. All his efforts were in vain, especially when Chunk began bringing his girlfriend to share in the spoils. Over time, though, by watching the entertaining footage of the two animals munching away, Permar was eventually won over by the two bold groundhogs. As for his change of heart, he says, “They're just trying to survive, just trying to make it out there in the wild. If I can do a job to protect them and keep them safe, prolong their life, I'm all for it.” That's when he had an ambitious idea: “I was like, ‘I'll give them their own garden.’”
Permar came up with a great idea to keep the little visitors out of his garden. Once the groundhogs went into hibernation, he started at securing his own garden to try and keep the animals out, and then he started to plant a special garden just for the animals to enjoy. After working hard on planting two gardens, Permar couldn’t wait to see the animals’ reaction to their very own garden.“I was looking every day,” he says, wondering, “Is he gonna come out today?”
When early spring arrived, Chuck and his girlfriend, Nibbles, made their way out of the shed and where delighted with their garden. They continued to come back to enjoy their own fruits and veggies, and even started to settle down and begin a family of their own. Permar noticed baby groundhogs showing up in the camera footage. “Now, I literally have five groundhogs that are coming in and out,” he chuckles.
Permar eventually started a YouTube channel for Chunk, posting the footage from the camera. “We all coexist. This is his land too, I just put a garden on it! So munch away.” When Chunk’s family grew, Permar even set up a tiny picnic table which they seem to be enjoying very much.