Whether you call them groundhogs, woodchucks, land beavers, or whistle pigs–every February 2nd these cute creatures have a big day . Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous groundhog, saw his shadow Sunday. So according to groundhog-day lore we are destined for six more weeks of hammocking in wintery conditions. But you ENOpians can hang with that I’m sure. Read on to learn more about groundhogs and their big day.
1. Groundhogs are one of the few animals that are true hibernators. Eating and gaining weight in the warm months, while sleeping through three of the coldest months.
2. While hibernating, a groundhog’s body temperature can fall to as low as 37 degrees and its heart rate can slow from about 80 beats per minute to 5.
3. During warm seasons, a groundhog has the capability to eat more than a pound of vegetation at one sitting, which is much like a 150-pound man scarfing down a 15-pound steak.
4. This year the Super Bowl fell on the same day as Groundhogs Day, however Punxsutawney Phil refused to make a prediction as to which team would win.
5. An average groundhog removes over 700 pounds of dirt to dig his burrow–that’s roughly the size of a small adult cow. Additionally, they can dig as far as six feet underground.
6. Groundhogs release a high-pitched whistle when they are alarmed and when they begin courting in the mating season. Other sounds groundhogs may make are low barks and a sound produced by grinding their teeth.
7. In the wild, groundhogs can live up to six years, with two or three being average. In captivity, groundhogs are reported to live from 9–14 years. Common predators for groundhogs include wolves, coyotes, foxes, bears, bobcat, eagles, and snakes. Even though they’re known for being ground dwellers, groundhogs are more than capable of climbing a tree if they are attempting to escape a predator.
8. While filming the movie: Groundhog Day, Bill Murray was bitten twice by the ground hog.
9. Groundhogs are actually aggressive little fur balls. When raised in captivity, it can take years to coax them into being the sweet versions you see on television.
Information sourced from: The National Wildlife Federation