01 Feb 5 Fun Facts About Groundhogs
If it’s not a day circled in your calendar, it should be. February 2, the infamous Groundhog Day. The popular tradition where a groundhog will “decide” our weather fate. Will it retreat into its dent and winter persist for six more weeks? Or will her shadow stay hidden and spring arrive early? While being an amusing (non-scientific) tradition check out our list below of 5 fun facts you may not know about groundhogs.
- Groundhogs are the largest members of the squirrel family.
- Although they are usually seen on the ground, they can climb trees and swim.
- Groundhogs are considered a true hibernator. During hibernation, a groundhog’s body temperature can drop from about 99 degrees to as low as 37 degrees. Their heart rate slows from about 80 beats per minute to 5. Their breathing slows from around 16 breaths per minute to as few as 2.
- Groundhog burrows can be as deep as 6 feet and as large as 20 feet or more. They typically have two entrances but can have up to a dozen. Their burrows are very complex and include a bathroom chamber.
- Other common names for groundhogs include woodchucks, whistle-pigs, and land-beavers.