Groundhog – interesting rodent
The groundhog is a large rodent that is also called the woodchuck. Its scientific name is Marmota monax. The groundhog is a type of marmot and is also closely related to the ground squirrels and gophers.
It lives in meadows and forests of the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.
The groundhog weighs about 2 to 6 kilograms and is about 33 to 51 centimeters long. The fur is red or brown, with black or dark brown feet.
The tail and legs are short, while the fingers and toes have strong claws, useful for digging. Groundhogs are good diggers and spend a lot of time in their burrows. During the winter the groundhog hibernates. They have two types of burrows – summer and winter. The winter burrows are deep enough, even up to 7 meters deep. In addition, the burrows can be up to 100 meters long.
They eat grass and other plants and store food in their dens.
Groundhogs are social animals and live in colonies. They have a single mating season each year and after a gestation period of 30-32 days, the female usually gives birth to four or five young. After about a month young groundhogs follow their mother out of the burrow.
Various animals are their predators, including golden eagles, hawks, foxes, and coyotes.
February 2 is Groundhog Day in the United States and Canada. If the animal sees its shadow when it comes out of the burrow, it is said that winter will go on for six more weeks. If not, then spring is near.
The first official groundhog meteorologist is Phil, who lives in the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Fame came to him in 1993, after the release of the movie Groundhog Day. In 2006, Phil appeared in vodka Absolute advertisement. It also advertised beer, Sega and cereals.
In the cities of Angarsk, Aznakaevo and Karaganda there are monuments to groundhog.