Groundhogs, also called woodchucks, are a member of the squirrel family that weigh between 7 and 14 pounds. They 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 their fat stores. Groundhogs are typically active until the first real frost of winter, often October or November. Then they hibernate until February or March.
As the days shorten and temperatures drop a groundhog's metabolism slows down and their body releases a
hormone that helps them hibernate. Their heart rate slows to around four or five
beats per minute and their body temperature falls from 98 degrees
Fahrenheit to as low as 38 degrees. They don't wake up to eat like
chipmunks. They survive off the fat they have built up
in the summer and fall.
- When do bats hibernate? http://goo.gl/IES4Bt
- When do Chipmunks hibernate? http://bit.ly/uGhBOB
- Do opossums hibernate during winter? http://bit.ly/u4ORP6
- Migration vs. Hibernation http://bit.ly/sixWTH
- Feb. 2nd groundhogs end their hibernation http://bit.ly/vPHVtx