Is it a Groundhog or Woodchuck?

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

 While they are herbivores, Woodchucks, also known as Groundhogs, Land-Beavers, and Whistle-Pigs, prefer the same fruits and vegetables we eat at home. The amount of carrots, apples, beans, peas, and any flowers groundhogs consume adds up to about a 1/3 of their entire body weight, per day!

When they are not eating, woodchucks are probably burrowing, or using their long, sharp claws to dig. These are not your common holes though. Groundhogs are able to build connected multi-chamber burrows, sometimes they even make a bathroom. Located across North America in areas where woodlands meet open spaces, their fanciful homes are put to good use in the winter, when they hibernate.

Image result for woodchuckOccasionally thought of as giant squirrels since they are categorized as rodents (marmots), this animal is a “true hibernator” because groundhogs’ body temperatures can drop below 5 degrees Celsius, while also slowing down their heart rates to only 5 beats per minute (human heart rates average between 60-100 beats per minute). Although, hibernation does not actually mean “sleep all winter”. Instead, woodchucks experience week-long torpors, or bouts of extremely low mental and physical inactivity, and then remain awake for a few days. Image result for groundhog

What happens when groundhogs wake up, particularly on February 2nd? Unless your Punxsutawney Phil, then nothing much. European folklore states: On February 2nd, if a groundhog sees its own shadow, then 6 more weeks of winter is to come. However, most woodchucks actually come out in early spring to mate. Even that interaction is short because groundhogs are solitary creatures, meaning they like to be alone. Mothers only raise their young for a few months before they are on their own. Nonetheless, they will use high-pitched shrills to warn other nearby groundhogs of danger.

P.S. As much wood as a woodchuck could chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood!

 

 

 

 

 

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