The Real Story Behind Groundhog Day

Encore posting of a previous blog regarding the concept of “Groundhog Day”.

Oakmoss Education

The Woodchuck (Marmota monax) is the largest member of the Squirrel family (Sciuridae) and the 2nd largest North American rodent.  Its other common name, Groundhog, relates to the fact that this rotund fellow makes its home in an underground burrow.  Burrows often have two entrances allowing for quick entry and escape as protection from predation. The name Woodchuck comes from the Algonquin name for this critter, wuchak. woodchuck_2

But how did the Woodchuck get associated with the coming of Spring? Its ability to foretell the start of the warming season is not so much about a talent for meteorology but more about reproduction. The Woodchuck is a true hibernator, so its metabolic processes slow considerably in Winter allowing it to survive during the time of year when its main food sources (greens and grubs) are not readily available. However, the irresistible urge to mate seems to awaken this…

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