Size: 2-11 pounds.

Life span: 3-4 years.

Litter size: 2-8 young, one litter per year.

Habitat: open land, farmland, forest edges, residential areas.

Food: green lush vegetation, fruits, berries, and occasionally tree leaves.

Facts: Digs burrows, true hibernator, climbs trees occasionally to sun or eat leaves.



Groundhog Day facts and factoids

Groundhog, woodchuck what's the difference?

Woodchuck and groundhog are common terms for the same animal, the rodent with the scientific name of Marmota monax. Most closely related to squirrels, woodchucks actually can climb trees and also swim.

What's so special about Feb. 2?

Celestially speaking, Groundhog Day on Feb. 2 is a "cross-quarter" day, about halfway between the winter solstice in December and the ver nal equinox in March, and is celebrated in some cultures as the mid point of winter. It's not far from the time many groundhogs end their hi bernation anyway, around the second week of February.

What's going on in that burrow?

In the winter, not much. Groundhogs go into profound hibernation, greatly reducing their metabolic rate, and their body temperature drops to just a few degrees above ambient temperature. Because their hibernaculum, the deepest portion of the burrow where they hibernate, is below frost line, that produces a body temperature as low as 39-40 degrees F.

What's the wake-up call?

The groundhog's internal clock is believed to be affected by annual changes in the amount of daylight. Hormonal responses to cyclic changes in production of melatonin, a sleep-related hormone, are thought by some to be the signal to wake up.

Why did groundhog fur coats go out of fashion?

Groundhog fur never was in vogue, partly because it is not particularly thick and warm, and because the fur's grizzled grey-brown appearance is more appealing to others of their species than to people. Groundhog hairs are used for tying trout flies, such as the 'Chuck Caddis, and early American Indians once used sturdy woodchuck hides for soles of moccasins.

What's for dinner?

Groundhogs in the wild eat succulent green plants, such as dandelion greens, clover, plantain and grasses. They also are tempted by nearby gar den vegetables. At Cornell, they dine on Agway Woodchuck Chow, a simi lar formulation to rabbit feed but in larger-sized pellets. Woodchucks binge and purposefully put on weight in the summer, reaching their maxi mum mass in late August. They become lethargic and prepare for hiber nation in October. By February, hibernating woodchucks have lost as much as half their body weight.

Has a groundhog ever appeared in any fantasy games? To date no groundhogs have ever appeared in any video games to date. Closest thing in name would be back from nineteen ninety one with release of Sonic The Hedgehog for the sega genesis system. Even an opossum has stared in a video game before a groundhog!

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?


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