Hey Kids! Do you want to learn all about groundhogs? Where do groundhogs live? What do groundhogs eat? Why do we celebrate Groundhog’s Day, or how did a groundhog get its own holiday? Find out the answers to these questions and more with these fun groundhog facts for kids!
What is a Groundhog?
Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks, whistle pigs, or land beavers. They are rodents and are the largest animal in the squirrel family.
Where do Groundhogs Live?
Groundhogs live in the Eastern part of North America. Groundhogs live near fence lines, vegetable farms, cornfields, or fruit orchards.
What do Groundhogs Eat?
They are omnivores, meaning they eat meat and plants, but mostly plants.
Groundhogs eat grasses, berries, vegetables, grasshoppers, insects, and snails.
Do Groundhogs Hibernate?
Groundhogs hibernate, meaning they spend their winter’s sleep. They hibernate from October to late March.
Groundhogs prepare for hibernation by putting on weight. Then, they live off the stored fat until they come out of hibernation.
While hibernating, they will go into a deep sleep. Their heart rate will slow down, and their body temperature will drop to conserve energy through the winter.
Fun Facts: Groundhog Sounds
Groundhogs make whistling sounds; that’s how they got the name Whistle Pigs. They also make hight pitched squealing sounds when fighting or caught by prey. They can also make a low barking sound or a sound from grinding their teeth.
Groundhogs: Interesting Facts for Kids
Groundhogs are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day.
They have a curved spine.
Groundhogs are mammals.
They can live up to 6 years old.
They are between 16 inches and 26 inches long with a 6-inch tail.
Groundhogs weigh between 9-15 pounds.
Male groundhogs are a little larger than females.
Groundhogs are burrowers. This means they dig tunnels underground. A burrow is a small tunnel or hole dug by a small animal.
When digging one burrow or den, they can move over 700 pounds of dirt!
They use their burrows or dens to sleep, care for babies, and hibernate.
Groundhog burrows have between 2-5 entrances and can be 5 ft below the ground.
Groundhogs can swim and are excellent tree climbers.
They sometimes climb trees to get fruit.
Farmers do not like groundhogs because they eat their crops.
Male and female groundhogs will share a den until the female gives birth to the babies.
A female groundhog gives birth to a litter of 4-9 babies. When the female has her babies, the male groundhog leaves the den until the young groundhogs are ready to leave the den.
A baby groundhog is called a kit or cub.
Babies are born hairless, helpless, and blind.
They open their eyes for the first time when they are around 4 weeks old.
They are born in the den and do not leave until they are 6-7 weeks old.
Predators are foxes, raccoons, coyotes, and farm dogs.
Groundhog Day Facts
Groundhog Day is celebrated in the United States and Canada.
Groundhogs are famous for predicting Spring.
Groundhog Day is on February 2nd.
According to legend, if the groundhog comes out of his burrow on February 2nd and does not see its shadow, then Spring will come early.
If the groundhog sees its shadow, then it goes back into its burrow, and there will be six more weeks of winter.
The largest celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
The most famous groundhog is Punxsutawney Phil
People have been gathering in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to celebrate Groundhogs Day since the late 1800s. In fact, the first Groundhog’s Day was on February 2nd, 1887.
Thousands of people attend Groundhog’s Day celebrations yearly in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. It is the largest groundhog celebration in the United States.
Punxsutawney Phil is the famous groundhog who predicts the weather in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
Many other states have their own Groundhog’s Day celebrations.
The second largest celebration takes place in Dallas, Texas
How often is the groundhog right in predicting Spring? Many people argue that answer. Some say he is between 75%-90% correct; others say 35%. Do you think the groundhog will see its shadow this year?
Turns out groundhogs aren’t that good at predicting the weather. They are only right about 35% of the time.
Groundhog’s Day in Canada
Every year on February 2nd, Shubenacadie Sam predicts the weather in Nova Scotia, Canada.
There is also a festival in Wiarton, Bruce County, Ontario, Canada, where a groundhog named Wiarton Willie predicts the weather. Will there be another six weeks of Winter or an early Spring?