Have you ever seen a groundhog or read any groundhog facts for kids? They look like cute big squirrels but are actually rodents. A groundhog is a lowland creature who belongs to North America. It is known by various names, such as woodchuck, whistle-pig, and a land-beaver. It is very intelligent, quiet adapt at social interactions and lives underground.
Let us study some interesting fun facts about groundhogs, which will surprise you.
11 Interesting Fun Facts about Groundhogs for Kids That will Blow Their Mind
These harmless little squirrel-looking rodent creatures, also known as groundhogs, are very interesting. Following are some of the exciting and surprising fun facts about them that will greatly interest the kids:
1. Fur of the groundhogs and its colour
The fur of the groundhogs is very thick. It is of different shades of brown. Most of the groundhogs have feet that are a shade darker than the rest of their body.
2. Groundhogs are vegetarians
Although it might seem impossible to believe but groundhogs are vegetarians. They eat only grass, or other plants, fruits, tree barks and their soft branches. They do not eat any kind of meat.
According to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) a groundhog can eat more than a pound of greenery in one time, during the summer season.
3. Homes of groundhogs
Groundhogs tend to make very detailed and impressive homes for themselves. They live in underground burrows. They make multiple rooms in these burrows. While making these burrows, the groundhogs tend to dig very deeply.
4. Living spaces of groundhogs
Mostly groundhogs are found near the forests, pastures, open fields, highway or outskirt roads or streams. They also live in dense forests and are very good swimmers and can easily climb tall shrubs and trees.
5. Hibernation mode
All the groundhogs are true hibernators. As the weather changes and it becomes colder, they go into the dormant state and in hibernation mode. When they are in this mode, their body temperature and heart rate falls drastically.
This hibernation mode of the groundhogs continues from late fall until late winter or early spring. During this time, they can stay alive for almost 150 days without eating anything.
6. Lifespan of groundhogs
On an average, when in forests then groundhogs have a life span of about 6 years. The average life span being two to three years. If they are kept captive, then sometimes they tend to live up to 14 years.
7. Life threats for groundhogs
Groundhogs are quite harmless creatures. However, their habits of digging deep into Earth tends to trouble people as it damages garden and another surface vegetation. Despite the fact that they are harmless and vegetarians, a lot of wild animals tend to prey on them.
Some such animals are wolves, coyotes, dogs, foxes, bobcats, lynxes and black bears. Birds of prey and snakes also hunt and eat groundhogs.
8. Whistlepigs – other names of groundhogs
Groundhogs can whistle very loudly. They do so at their potential mates. This is the reason why they are also known as whistlepigs.
9. Teeth of groundhogs
The most important body part of a groundhog is his teeth. They are very sharp and are very long. They can grow up to 1/16th of an inch in the time span just one week.
10. Groundhog day
Amongst all the rodents in the world, groundhog is the only rodent that has a day named after it. It is February 2nd.
The myth behind the tradition is it that if a hibernating groundhog climbs out of his burrow and sees his shadow, it will lead to six more weeks of winter and if he does not see his shadow, then the spring is about to arrive.
11. Active time of groundhogs
Groundhogs are always active during the day. They sleep during the night. They feed mostly in the early morning or late afternoons and then sleep during the night.
Groundhog Hibernation Facts
Groundhogs are true hibernators, which basically means that they sleep for a really long time; from rainy season to the beginning season. Let us read about some really interesting groundhogs hibernation facts that will interest kids greatly.
- During hibernation, a groundhog curls into a lifeless ball and goes off to sleep for a long time, roughly around three months.
- During the hibernation period, a groundhog’s body temperature drops from 99° F to 40° F.
- During the period of hibernation, a groundhog’s heartbeat slows from 80 beats per minute to just 5 beats per minute.
- During the time of hibernation, groundhogs do not eat at all. They survive on the fat reserves that they accumulate in their body from their food that they eat during summer and fall season.
- During hibernation period, a groundhog looses one fourth of his body weight.
Now, let us try to find out the answers to some common FAQs related to groundhogs.
Q. What does a groundhog eat?
A groundhog eats green grass, bushes, plants and tree bark.
Q. Do groundhogs have big teeth?
Yes groundhogs have big teeth.
Q. How long do baby groundhogs stay with Mom?
Baby groundhogs stay with their mother for a period of three months.
Q. Where do groundhogs live?
Groundhogs live in underground burrows.
Q. How long does a groundhog live?
In the wild, groundhogs can live up to a period of six years. In captivity, groundhogs can live up to 14 years.
Q. Are groundhogs smart?
Yes, groundhogs are quite smart.
Q. How large do groundhogs get?
Groundhogs can grow up to the length of 41 cm.
Q. Are groundhogs dangerous?
Yes groundhogs are a bit dangerous due to their aggressive behaviour towards humans.
So, now we know a lot about the groundhogs. We can see that they are one of the popular members of the squirrel family. The article comprised of a lot of groundhog facts for kids. They eat all summer and build up a lot of reserves of fat and then go in hibernation. They are harmless and are at times people like to keep them as pets as well.