Groundhogs, also called woodchucks, are a member of the squirrel family that weigh between 7 and 14 pounds.
When They Hibernate
Groundhogs are typically active until the first real frost of winter, often October or November. Then they hibernate until February or March.
What Happens to Their Bodies
As the days shorten and temperatures drop a groundhog's body releases a hormone that helps guide the animal into hibernation. In their hibernation state, a groundhog's heart rate slows to around four or five beats per minute. A groundhog's body temperature falls from 98 degrees Fahrenheit to as low as 38 degrees. They don't wake up to eat like chipmunks. Their body is fueled by the fat the groundhogs have built up in the summer and fall.
Groundhogs spend a good bit of the warmer months getting ready for hibernation. They eat nearly a pound of food per day in the fall to help build up his fat stores, and Then he digs a deep den that he lines with grass or twigs to make a comfy nest for his long nap.
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- Migration vs. Hibernation http://bit.ly/sixWTH
- Feb. 2nd groundhogs end their hibernation http://bit.ly/vPHVtx
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