9 Interesting Facts About Groundhogs

Groundhogs have their day in the spotlight every year on February 2nd, Groundhog Day, but they have more to offer than an insight into the upcoming weather.

The stout creatures are also known for their impressive homes, nicknames, and other fascinating skills.

They are found only in North America and can weigh up to 13 pounds. We are all familiar with a famous groundhog named “Phil” who makes a debut in February, but did you know that groundhogs are agile climbers and related to squirrels?

Photo: Pixabay/u_macapg

Check out 9 interesting facts about groundhogs below.

True Hibernators

They are one of the few animals who truly hibernates. Their heart rate lowers to five beats per minute, and they sleep soundly through winter, or at least most of it.

Can Predict The End of Winter – Occasionally

On February 2nd a groundhog is used as a weather predictor to see if there will be six more weeks of winter based on if it sees its shadow. If the groundhog sees its shadow, then there will be six more weeks of winter, but no shadow means an early spring. But according to Stormfax Almanac, the groundhog predictions have only been accurate 39 percent of the time.

Photo: Pixabay/Der_Mentor

Related To Squirrels

Groundhogs are the largest species in the squirrel family. They have long tails, just like other squirrels, and are one of 14 species of marmots.

Have Many Nicknames

Woodchuck, whistle-pig (because they whistle to warn other groundhogs of danger), land-beaver, and Punxsutawney Phil are other popular aliases for a groundhog.

Photo: Pixabay/rusticpix_cheryl

Build Impressive Homes

The woodchuck uses its sharp claws to build underground burrows, which can be up to 6 feet deep by 20 feet wide and 66 feet long, with multiple entrances and chambers. They even have separate bathrooms!

The burrows are like tiny villages that provide safety from predators, a place to raise their young, and to hibernate in the winter.

Photo: Pixabay/dassel

Vacant Burrows House Other Animals

Once a groundhog has moved on from an area the empty burrows are used by other animals for shelter and safety. Rabbits and chipmunks are just a couple of the animals that take refuge in the elaborate tunnels.

They Can Swim and Climb Trees

While they prefer to go underground for safety, groundhogs can swim and even climb trees if they are in danger and away from home. Groundhogs use their sharp claws to scale a tree and are actually impressive climbers.

Photo: Pixabay/JasonPinaster

Farmers View Them As Pest

The solitary creatures spend their days burrowing, eating, and napping in the sun. Farmers view them as pests because they like to devour vegetables, fruits, and crops. However, they also eat pests like snails and other insects.

Motivated By Love

Groundhogs are loners and will only seek out another groundhog to mate. Males reportedly wake up early from hibernation and will leave their burrow in February in search of a female burrow. They are known for their impeccable timing and manage to wake up every year in time to mate.

Photo: Pixabay/Cairomoon

What surprised you the most?

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