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Amazing Facts

Ten Interesting Facts of Groundhog

1. Ground hogs are also known as woodchucks,
land-beavers and “whistle pigs” from their habit of emitting a
loud whistle to alert other groundhogs of danger.

2. They are related to squirrels and are the
largest member of the family.

3. The life span of a groundhog is about 10 yeas
in captivity and 6 in the wild but Wiarton Willie in Wiarton,
Ontario is said to be 22.

4. Groundhogs can swim and climb trees to escape predators.

5. They dig tunnels in the ground over 40 feet
long and 5 deep.

6. Their diet consists primarily of plant
material like wild grasses and berries but they also like
agricultural crops, especially alfalfa. They also eat grubs,
insects, and snails.

7. Groundhogs hibernate from October to March or
April and often build a special burrow just for that purpose.

8. Groundhog pairs mate in the spring and have a
litter of 2-6 helpless offspring that are ready to be on their own
in 5-6 weeks. Dad leaves the den just before the darlings arrive.

9. Groundhog day was derived from a German
custom of observing the emergence of a hedgehog on Candlemas to
determine the end of winter. When the German settled in North
America they lacked hedgehogs in their new Pennsylvania home and
used a groundhog instead.

10. The most famous groundhog used for Groundhog
Day is Punxsutawney Phil, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He lives
with his wife Phyllis in the town library except when he is taken
to a special burrow on Gobbler’s Knob on February 2nd each year so
the crowds can see him emerge and look for his shadow. If he sees
his shadow, he returns to his burrow for another 6 weeks of
winter.  His accuracy is 37%.

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