The Gatlinburg area in Tennessee is known for many things, including the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood and other theme parks, museums, shopping, and much more. Now I guess we need to add "uber-friendly critters" to that list. Animal sightings are certainly not uncommon in that area, but usually, they involve bears, deer, or maybe elk. This picture, however, shows an animal encounter on the completely opposite end of that spectrum.

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This young fella was walking down the street in Gatlinburg, just minding his business when all of the sudden he was greeted by a not-shy-at-all critter known as a whistle pig. Perhaps you know the animal by its more common name, the groundhog. I'm assuming this groundhog isn't named Phil, but you never know - I guess it's possible that the famous prognosticator from Punxsutawney, PA was just enjoying some time off down south, but I doubt it. Actually, based on several of the comments left on Facebook (the "Having Fun in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and surrounding towns in the Smokys" group), this particular groundhog is a regular to the folks of Gatlinburg.

Facebook/Having Fun in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and surrounding towns in the Smokys
Facebook/Having Fun in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and surrounding towns in the Smokys

I guess this furry fella (or lady) has learned that it pays off to be friendly to humans, and it certainly doesn't hurt to look all cute by standing up on your hind legs - I don't think I've ever seen a groundhog do that.

Getty Images

The majority of comments were about how cute the picture is, how cute the animal is, and how others had a similar experience. There were also some comments about how dangerous it is to approach or feed any wild animal, which I guess is something to keep in mind too.

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