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.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

What groundhogs eat and drink

I love my chubby cheeked woodchuck! Not many gardeners do, but when he tears across the lawn, his rolls of fat rippling along with him, it is a sight to see. My woodchuck, also known as a groundhog, is found most often under the mulberry tree feasting on the tree's fruit.

For the next 3 or 4 months, until the days grow shorter and he decides to take a long winter nap, a woodchuck will eat an assemblage of plant leaves, fruits, nuts, and berries. He stands adroitly on his two back feet to to munch my tall sunflower leaves and also lays flat out on the ground to pick up some fallen seed from the bird feeders. He gets some liquid from fruit but will drink from puddles and ponds too.

In the woodchuck's effort to pack on the pounds before hibernation, some gardeners may find a diminished garden with a great big underground den in its place. They build impressive homes. It can be anywhere from 8 to 66 feet long, with multiple rooms and exits. One room is for hibernating, and then they have another section of the burrow that’s more like their summer home where they can come out more easily. There are even potty rooms.

Why love a woodchuck beside for his adorableness? Old woodchuck dens provide a lot of homes for other animals like foxes, raccoons, opossums and cottontails. Opposums are natural predators of ticks. The fox and skunk feed upon field mice, grasshoppers, beetles and other creatures that destroy gardens. In aiding these animals, the woodchuck indirectly helps the gardener. In addition to providing homes for itself and other animals, the woodchuck aids in soil improvement by bringing subsoil to the surface. They also consume impressive amounts of weed seeds and waste grain. And they don't like other woodchucks. If you have one they will chase off any others. 

Related Articles:
What's the Difference Between a Groundhog & Woodchuck? http://bit.ly/z5FPoV
What happens when the groundhog sees his shadow? http:/groundhog-sees-his.html
Love and the Birds: The Origin of St. Valentine's Day http://bit.ly/w5ra8B
Is hibernation more of a nightmare than a pleasant dream? http://bit.ly/y2OGr6
Origin of National Squirrel Appreciation Day! http://bit.ly/AhqkBg

No comments: