Groundhog Facts

Groundhog Facts
Groundhog, also known as marmot or woodchuck, is the largest member of the squirrel family. It can be found in the northeastern and central parts of North America. Groundhog inhabits edges of the forest, fields and areas near the roads and human settlements. They are treated like pests in some areas because they feed on the crops and destroy land with underground tunnels. Groundhogs are often on a target of recreational hunters. Luckily, they reproduce quickly and they are pretty common in the wild. Groundhogs are not on the list of endangered animals.
Interesting Groundhog Facts:
Groundhogs can reach 16 to 26 inches in length (including the tail) and 4 to 9 pounds of weight.
Body is covered with grayish to brown fur. Coat consists of two layers: dense undercoat and long coarse hairs on the surface.
Groundhogs have small ears, large incisors and strong jaws. They have short legs and 6 inches long tail. Their spine is curved.
Groundhogs are diurnal animals (active during the day). They are usually active early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
Groundhogs eat different types of grasses, berries, nuts and agricultural crops. They occasionally eat insects and snails. Leafy plants are used both as a source of food and water.
Groundhogs are excellent climbers and swimmers.
Main predators of groundhogs are foxes, bobcats, wolves, raccoons, bears, coyotes, dogs and eagles.
Groundhog whistles when it is threatened. Because of that, groundhog is also known as whistle pig.
Groundhogs have strong limbs and sharp claws which are used for digging. Their burrows usually have 2 to 5 entrances and consist of 46 feet long tunnels that stretch to the depth of 5 feet. Burrows are used for sleeping, rearing of the young and for hibernation.
Groundhogs hibernate from October to March. Heart slows down and their body temperature drops down drastically during hibernation. They use body fat as a source of energy for basic metabolic processes.
Groundhogs are used to predict weather in Pennsylvania since 1800s. If groundhog leaves its burrow on the February 2nd, spring will come early. If groundhog sees its own shadow and returns back to burrow, winter will last for another 6 weeks.
Mating season takes place during the spring.
Female gives birth to 4 to 9 babies (kits or cubs) from April to May, after gestation period of 31 to 32 days. Babies are naked, blind and helpless at birth. Only mother takes care of the babies. Young animals will start independent life 6 weeks after birth. Groundhogs reach sexual maturity at the age of two years and produce one litter per year.
Groundhogs are used in medical researches for the study of liver cancer.
Groundhogs can survive 9 to 14 years in captivity and up to 6 years in the wild.

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