Secrets of the Groundhog
What’s the groundhog do the other 364 days of the year when he’s not predicting the weather?
Our friendly groundhog has predicted a few more weeks of winter, but here are some things you might not know about this furry weather forecaster:
What’s the difference between a woodchuck and a groundhog?
They’re actually two terms for the same animal. Groundhogs are the largest member of the squirrel family, and they can climb trees and swim.
How does he know when to wake up to predict the weather?
It’s thought his internal clock is controlled by changes in the amount of daylight. Hormonal changes impact the amount of melatonin produced, which causes him to wake up.
What goes on in his burrow all that time he’s asleep?
They go into hibernation, and because the deepest part of the burrow where they sleep is below the frost line, their body temperature can get as low as 39 degrees Fahrenheit.
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck?
If a woodchuck (aka groundhog) could chuck wood, he’d chuck about 700 lbs. of it!
What do groundhogs eat?
In the wild, they eat succulent green plants like clover and dandelion greens, but they also love garden vegetables. This can become a big problem in the summer when they start binge eating to gain weight in preparation for winter hibernation. Their binge is usually done by late August and are ready for hibernation in October.