Lakeside Nature Center
Critter Corner -
DID YOU KNOW:
The groundhog, famous as the weather predictor on Groundhog Day, is also called a woodchuck. It is shaped like a beaver but is smaller and has a short tail, short stout legs and very big front teeth.
The woodchuck eats dandelions, clover, weeds and other kinds of vegetation - they don't chuck or eat wood! They eat all day long during warm weather to build up fat in their bodies to survive the long cold winter.
A mother woodchuck has three to six babies, each 4 inches long and weighing about 1 ounce. The babies are usually born in April in a burrow. They have no fur and their eyes are shut. By six weeks of age, the youngsters are fully furred, eyes open and ready to live on their own.
Woodchucks dig their burrows in open areas at a woodland edge, such as a pasture, a meadow or a golf course. Other animals, including skunks and foxes, may use the woodchuck's excellently dug burrows.
Woodchucks dive headfirst into their burrows when they are in danger. If cornered, they will hiss and growl. They often stand on their hind legs to check for trouble. If the woodchuck sees a predator, he may give a very loud whistle.
To learn more about woodchucks
(Photo credits: Portrait of woodchuck from National Parks Service, Diagram of woodchuck burrow from Missouri Department of Conservation, Standing woodchuck from Wikipedia)