Goofy About Groundhogs
Are you goofy about groundhogs?? Check out this great info and you’re sure to be! They are so cool!
· Groundhogs are marmots and are members of the rodent family. People (like me!) who love groundhogs are called marmotophiles. People who study about groundhogs are referred to as marmotologists or marmoteers.
· Groundhogs have other names…woodchuck and whistle pig. They are called whistle pigs because of the shrill whistle they sound to warn their friends of danger.
· That whistle is not the only way that God gave groundhogs to protect themselves from predators. They have a strong sense of smell. They can smell if any predators have been near their burrow.
· Groundhogs are very alert and can peek from their burrows without being noticed. Their eyes, ears and nose are high on their heads for great spying.
· Groundhogs can also make a loud chattering noise with their teeth that scares enemies, which include wolves, foxes, coyotes, and eagles.
· And speaking of teeth, a groundhog’s teeth keep growing and growing and growing. They use their teeth to help dig their burrow. They can chew right through roots and even rocks! That gnawing keeps the teeth at just the right length.
· Groundhogs are amazing diggers!!! The can move about 700 pounds of rocks, roots, and dirt in one day!!
· Groundhogs dig with purpose. When making their burrow, they go down a few feet and then back up a bit, making a flood bump which protects the burrow during storms. God made groundhogs really smart!
· Their burrows have a main entrance and alternate exits and spyholes. They have multiple “rooms” including a nest for snoozing and hibernating and a potty room.
· Groundhogs eat like pigs all during the summer to build up lots of fat for their hibernation. After the first frost, they head into their burrow and sleep until spring.
· During hibernation, groundhogs barely breathe, only about once every six minutes. Their hearts only beat once every four or five minutes. That’s deep sleep!!
· They eat grasses, leaves, fruits, tree bark, clover and crops…which keep them from friendship with farmers.
· Groundhogs live in places where trees are near to open spaces, often close to roadways and streams. Groundhogs can climb trees and can swim, but spend most of their time on the ground.
· On February 2, Groundhog Day is celebrated! On this day, groundhogs from all over the country are pulled from their homes to see if they see their shadow. According to tradition, if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, then spring is on its way!!