Groundhog are one of is one of 14 species of
Other Names: Whistle-pig, Woodchuck and
Groundhog in Foreign Languages:
Czech: svišt lesní
Greek: aarktómys / marmóta
Size: Groundhogs measure 16 to 26 inches in
length, including a 6 inch tail. Most groundhogs weigh
4 to 9 lbs, but on ocassion some can also grow to weigh
as much as 31 lbs.
Habitat: The groundhog is found in North America,
primarily in Southern Canada, Alaska and the Northern
United States. Groundhogs build burrows in thickets
and open woodlands. In the spring and summer, groundhogs
are found in meadows, open fields and pastures.
Description: Groundhogs have a dense, woolly
coat of fur. Groundhogs have strong jaws and two prominent
chisel-shaped incisor teeth. Groundhogs have small eyes
and ears located near the top of their broad, flat head,
short legs with sturdy claws that they use for burrowing.
Diet: Groundhogs are herbivores. Groundhogs
eat excessive amounts during the summer and build up
fat reserves. Groundhogs feed on grasses and plants
as well as fruits and tree bark.
Behavior: Groundhogs are usually terrestrial
but they can climb trees and are also capable swimmers.
Groundhogs dig burrows, that have 2-5 enterances. The
burrow's tunnels can be up to 5 feet deep and up to
45 feet in length. It is rare that a groundhog will
venture more than half a mile from their burrow.
Gestation: Groundhogs carry their young for
31 - 32 days.
Birth: Groundhogs give birth to litters of 2
- 6 babies. Groundhog babies only stay with their mother
for the first 5-6 weeks of their life. Babies are born
blind and hairless.
Sexually Mature: Groundhogs are sexually mature
between 1 - 2 years of age.
Life Span: Wolves, coyotes, foxes, bobcats,
bears, large hawks, and dogs are predators of
groundhogs. Snakes often prey on young groundhogs,
by entering their burrows.
Did You Know?
Groundhogs are one of the few animals
to truly hibernate. Groundhog hibernation
gave rise to the popular American custom
of Groundhog Day, held on the second
of February every year.