All You Ever Wanted To Know About Groundhogs
Groundhog Day is this Sunday. You already know the Groundhog Day story. It’s been going on every February 2 since 1887 in Punxsutawney, Penn., when Punxsutawney Phil makes his prediction on whether we’re going to get an early spring.
But what do you know about groundhogs?
• The average groundhog is 20 inches long and normally weighs from 12 to 15 pounds. Punxsutawney Phil weighs about 20 pounds and is 22 inches long.
• Groundhogs are covered with thick gray hair with brown, sometimes red, tips. They have short ears, a short tail, short legs but they can run pretty fast. They have very strong jaws.
• A groundhog eats lots of greens, fruits and vegetables and very little water. Most of their liquids come from leaves.
• When a groundhog senses danger -- they whistle -- almost a shriek. They also whistle in the spring when they’re looking for a mate.
• They’re not bothered by insects, and they’re resistant to the plagues that periodically wipe out large numbers of wild animals. One reason for that is that they’re pretty clean.
• Groundhogs are one of the few animals that really hibernate, going into a deep coma where the body temperature drops to a few degrees above freezing, the heart barely beats, the blood scarcely flows, and breathing nearly stops.
• Baby groundhogs are usually born in April or May, and by July they’re able to go out on their own. A baby groundhog is called a kit or a cub and there’s usually 4-9 in a litter.
• Groundhogs usually live from six to eight years, but Phil gets a drink of a magical punch every summer at the annual Groundhog Picnic, which gives him seven more years of life.