About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Slow metabolism to gain weight

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.

Related Articles:
- 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

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