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5 fun facts about groundhogs


Did you know that February 2nd is Groundhog Day? That's the day when some very famous rodents come out of the ground and, if they see their shadow or if they don't, we find out if there's going to be six more weeks of winter. That seems like a pretty important job for an animal! Let's see what other interesting facts Mr. Orlando can tell us about groundhogs.

Fact: They are also known as a “whistle-pig.”

That’s probably because a groundhog will make a high-pitched whistling sound to warn others if there is danger around! Other names for a groundhog are woodchuck, mouse bear and land-beaver.

Fact: Their underground burrows are like tiny villages.

Groundhogs live underground in burrows that they dig. The burrows can be almost two metres underground and be made up of 20 metres of tunnels connected to many different exits so that they can run away from their predators. Groundhogs use their burrows to sleep, raise their young, and hibernate through the winter.

Fact: They can climb trees and swim if they have to.

Although groundhogs dig great burrows with many entrances they can use to escape from predators, sometimes they might find themselves away from their homes. In that case, they do have the ability to climb a tree or even swim if they need to quickly get away.

Fact: Other animals use their burrows for protection.

Groundhog burrows aren’t just used by groundhogs! Other animals like rabbits, chipmunks and snakes find that they make nice houses for them too once the groundhogs have moved out.

Fact: When they hibernate, their heart rate slows down to 5 beats per minute.

That's really, really slow! Groundhogs are known as true hibernators. When they go into hibernation in the winter their heart rate lowers a lot, right down to 5 beats per minute. The largest hibernator - the bear - has a heart rate of about 8-12 beats per minute during their winter sleep. Bats can hibernate too, and their hearts will slow down from 1,000 beats per minute down to only 25.

> Check out some famous groundhogs and find out all about Groundhog Day!