There's no groundhogs in Florida. Instead, we have armadillos. If you've got a large burrow near your home, with a lot of dirt thrown out, it's a dillo, not a
woodchuck. So stop looking for information about groundhogs, and head on over to the dillo page!
Woodchunk is the common name for the groundhog, which is scientifically known as Marmota monax. It belongs to the rodent family and a scientific family known as Sciuridae. Other creatures that belong to the same family with the
woodchuck include chipmunks, squirrels and prairie dogs. Groundhogs’ native habitats are North America. They can also be found in the lowland habitats of United States such as Alabama and Alaska. Other areas that their live in are open places on the woodland outskirts. Generally, groundhogs are interesting creatures and they are well known for the role they play on a yearly basis on predicting the beginning of spring.
The woodchuck is a large creature that is usually forty to sixty five centimeters long and its average weight can be four to six pounds. However, with more suitable habitats, which have plenty sources of food a
woodchuck can weigh even thirty pounds. Woodchucks are diurnal, which means they are active mostly during the day. They are mostly herbivores and their diet consists of vegetation and wild grass. They also eat agricultural crops, nuts and berries. Note that at times they feed on snails, insects, and other small insects. They do not take water but obtain the needed hydration from the food they eat. They are excellent in digging which is enhanced by their short powerful legs. They have stubby tails and a coarse fur, which consist of longer protective guard hairs and a dense insulating undercoat. A woodchunk can live an average of three to six years in the wild and nine to twenty two years in captivity.
Groundhogs excavate burrows, which offer them shelter, a sleeping and hibernating place. It is also in these burrows that they bring up their young ones. Most of them never move too far from the entrance of their burrows. Their underground homes have two or more separate entrances to help them escape easily from their predators. If a
woodchuck spots danger, it makes whistle-like-warning sounds to alert the rest of the colony. They are excellent swimmers and good tree climbers when it comes to surveying their surroundings or escaping from their predators. Their common predators include foxes, coyotes, wolves, bobcats, bears snakes, dogs and hawks.
Woodchucks normally start breeding at two years. Their breeding begins late in February to early march but can exceed to late April. The gestation period of their young ones is about thirty one days. A
woodchuck litter normally contains three to six young ones, which are normally born blind and hairless. However, they do not remain in this state for long. By the time the young groundhogs reach six weeks, they are ready to leave their mother’s burrow and start their own lives.
As mentioned earlier one way in which groundhogs use they burrows is to hibernate. They start hibernating at around October which moves on to March but it can exceed to April, which depends on the climate. In order to make preparations for hibernating, every
woodchuck eats as much as it can to gain a lot of weight. After that, they retreat to their special made winter burrows to hibernate. After the hibernating period, groundhogs emerge from their special winter burrows with some remaining fat in their body to live on until spring produces plenty vegetation to feed on.
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