Some interesting woodchuck information and facts presented here. Read
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Scientifically known as the marmot monax, the groundhog or the woodchuck in local terms is one of the 14 species of marmots. A marmot on the other hand, is a term used to refer to a group of large squirrels which is almost always found on the ground. Woodchucks are said to be the largest group belonging to the family of squirrels. Although they are said to be ground animals, they also have the ability to climb small trees where they feast on its fruits.
Another amazing fact about them is that they are good swimmers much like their relative – the beaver. They are mostly like to take refuge in areas where woodlands spread out in an open space like streams, roads or meadows where they mostly find their food. They are often a nuisance to many farmers and gardeners who always find their plots and plants destroyed if not eaten by these annoying rodents.
These little creatures weigh no more than 30 pounds if they are residing in an area full of their dietary sustenance, but normally they only weigh about 12 pounds and measures about 20 inches in length. They are also considered as lowland creatures and are mostly found in North America. They are mostly found in the Eastern and Central United States, although they can now be seen in counties like Alaska and northern Washington as well as Alberta and British Columbia in the west side.
These creatures are said to be vegetarian and only survive with an intake of vegetable crops, flowers, leaves, twigs, apples, berries, grasses, clovers, dandelions although they can also ingest small insects as well as snails but not very often. They are very active during the summer season where they are often seen outside and enjoying the heat of the sun. They are voracious eaters and would feed themselves well in order to produce huge quantities of fat reserves to help them survive the cold months where they lay sleeping with little or no food at all. Upon the onset of the first snow, they begin to find their underground burrows to hibernate until the first buds of spring. This season is the breeding season for these animals as female groundhogs give birth to almost half a dozen newborns.
Because they belong to smaller species, they are prey for most carnivorous predators like coyotes, wolves and other ground beasts not to mention that they are prone to aerial attacks by large owls and hawks. In order to avoid such danger, they tend to retreat on their burrows but not without alerting their kind by way of whistling. One of their defense mechanism is their ability to stay immobile for long periods of time as well as their ability to sense danger.
Since they are underground foragers, they have an easy way to escape their enemy and often their tunnels can have two to five entrances. They are also very diligent diggers because they can spread their tunneling for up to 45 feet and you can find it about 5 feet below the ground. In lieu with this, it is sometimes a dilemma for many agricultural and residential property owners to build structures within the woodchuck infested habitat.
The vast clearing of many forests as well as marshes have made it a favorable activity for these underground pests to further the number of their habitats as well as creating an opportunity for them to continue breeding and increasing their numbers. Because of this, groundhog population is even greater today than previous years and as such they have become an item for good hunting for some game hunters; although not all states allow it.
Much to many people’s amazement, the existence of such animals and their lifestyle gave birth to one of the most popular American tradition which is called the Groundhog Day. This is celebrated every second of February every year. According to legends, if a woodchuck would see its own shadow that day it would mean an extension of six more weeks for the winter season and truthfully, that prediction holds true to many North American areas. What an interesting fact coming from a little rodent that many consider a nuisance.
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