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True or False? 7 Facts & 7 Myths about Groundhogs

By February 1, 2018 No Comments
  1. Groundhog burrows can be as long as 20-feet long and have multiple rooms, including a dedicated bathroom.
  2. Not unlike lemmings, groundhogs are born with a false instinct that they can fly. Wildlife biologists estimate that up to 20 percent of the groundhog population perishes each year from injuries sustained after high-altitude plummets from trees.
  3. Groundhogs are known as the most romantic rodent, greeting each other with Eskimo kisses. However, their mating season is just ten days long.
  4. Groundhogs are prolific eaters, eating twice their weight in vegetation every day. Gnashing groundhogs’ jaws move at the land-speed equivalent of 400 mph. The friction and heat generated by groundhogs’ incisors regularly produces sparks, which are an accepted cause of forest and prairie fires in arid climates.
  5. A hibernating groundhog’s heart rate slows from 80 beats per minute to five.
  6. Groundhogs go by many names that include “woodchuck,” “prairie dog,” “whistle pig,” “melancholy mouse,” and “squirmin’ vermin.”
  7. Groundhogs’ only natural defense is their burrows because they are not fleet afoot with a top footspeed of 8mph (but aroused groundhogs have been known to move as fast as 9mph).
  8. While no evidence exists to suggest that groundhogs’ emergence from hibernation provides insight on the arrival of spring, they have the keenest sense of smell in the animal kingdom. Law enforcement zoologists currently are engineering pilot programs to develop the first generation of bomb-sniffing groundhogs.
  9. A groundhog’s body temperature drops from 99 degrees Fahrenheit to 37 degrees during hibernation.
  10. The initial team nickname for the American Football League franchise that became the Denver Broncos was the Denver Groundhogs. The nickname was changed for the 1961 season after Denver’s entire defensive unit had succumbed to hibernation by the conclusion of the team’s inaugural 1960 season.
  11. During hibernation, groundhogs go as long as 150 days without eating.
  12. Groundhogs have notoriously poor vision. They are likewise unreliable for strategic planning, process development, and proofreading.
  13. Young groundhogs are called “chucklings.”
  14. Groundhog milk is a known aphrodisiac in Canada. Over the past decade, several groundhog dairy farms have emerged in Saskatchewan. The design of the tiny milking machine that is used to harvest groundhog milk, known as a “Lact Hog,” has patents pending in both Ottawa and Washington, DC.

 

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