The Sleepy Groundhog
The sleepy Groundhog is found all around Ohio. This mammal is commonly seen in open field areas along trails and in picnic areas, as well as along road sides. The groundhog is also known by other names like Woodchuck and Whistle Pig.
The groundhog is a small mammal with a normal length of around 2 feet and commonly weighs in between 5 and 10 pounds. Its fur is a deep brown and its feet are dark brown to black in color. With small ears and big eyes, the groundhog has very good hearing and vision. It also has a very good sense of smell.
When startled, it makes a loud, shrill whistle, which is where the groundhog got the name, Whistle Pig.
The groundhog is an herbivore, which means they eat grasses, fruits and vegetables. It has four very large teeth in the front for biting off grasses to eat and for chewing through roots when they are digging. They also have 18 teeth in the back of the mouth for chewing their food. The groundhog likes to eat grasses, clover and many farm and garden crops like beans and corn. Sometimes they will even climb trees to enjoy sweet apples!
During the warm spring and summer months, groundhogs spend most of their days eating. They do this because they need to put on a heavy layer of fat before they go into hibernation for the winter.
Groundhogs hibernate during the cold months each year. This means that they sleep in their burrows from late autumn through early spring. As the groundhog curls up in his sleeping chamber for the winter, his heart rate slows to 4 or 5 beats a minute and his body temperature cools down to around 40 degrees.
The only time groundhogs come out of their burrows during hibernation is early in February when they appear to be checking the weather. This day is known as “Groundhog Day”.
On Groundhog Day, thousands of people pay attention to whether or not the groundhog can see his shadow. According to folklore, if he can, it is believed that there will be 6 weeks of winter left, if not, it will be an early spring. Ohio’s famous groundhog is Buckeye Chuck, who lives in Marion.
The Sleepy Grounhog isn't always sleepy, is it?