Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Things you may not know about groundhogs

I'm not sure if this made it on Facebook or not... But here are a number of "I didn't know that" facts about groundhogs as supplied by the National Wildlife Federation.

After all, Groundhogs Day is Wednesday and happens to a favorite holiday for Bev and me. I even have a very nice floral arrangement delivered to Bev on this special day.

Where was I? Oh, yes, tidbits on groundhogs:

Groundhogs are true hibernators which fall into a trance-like stupor to get through the winter. During this time a groundhog's body temperature can drop from 99 degrees to as low as 37 degrees; Heart rate will fall from 80 beats per minute to 5 beats per minute; Breathing drops from 16 breaths per minute to as few as 2 breaths per minute; Groundhogs may hibernate up to 150 days yet lose only 1/4 through body weight due to their lowered metabolism; When awake, a groundhog can eat one pound of vegetation per sitting (equal to a 150-pound person eating a 15-pound steak); A groundhog's teeth can grow 1/16 inch per day, requiring constant trimming; If the teeth are not aligned properly a tooth can grow and then pierce the skull or lower jaw, killing the animal; A groundhog can dig a hole 6 feet deep with a labyrinth extending up to 20 feet; A groundhog's top speed is just 8 mph, or much slower than one of its enemies - the red fox which can reach speeds of up to 25 mph.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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