Tag Archives: groundhog

Five Fun Groundhog Facts!

By Trudyann Buckley

Groundhog photo by Derek Stoner

Groundhog photograph by Derek Stoner

A groundhog could count these facts on one hand! …if he could count.

  1. groundhog1Groundhogs are also called whistle-pigs and woodchucks.

They are called whistle pigs because, when they spy a threat, they sometimes whistle. This may be to warn others, or to scare their predators. They’re not closely related to pigs at all!

Woodchucks don’t have anything to do with wood, either. (Though, they can climb trees to get away from predators.) The name “Woodchuck” actually comes from the Native American name for Groundhogs: wuchak.

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2.    groundhog2How Much Wood A Woodchuck Would Chuck:

If we’re talking about nibbling on wood, they do that to file down their teeth, but not too often.

But lots of people would say “to chuck” means to throw something. Groundhogs are great at digging burrows, so they chuck a lot of dirt, but not wood. In fact, one scientist found that they “throw” about 700 pounds of dirt out of the way to make one burrow. If you imagine that dirt is a bunch of wood chips instead, you have your answer!

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groundhog33.  Their teeth keep growing!

Groundhogs are rodents. They’re closely related to squirrels, and more distantly related to mice, rats, and beavers. Rodents are set apart from other mammals by their two front teeth, which just keep growing! If they don’t file their teeth down by munching, they’re in trouble! A groundhog’s teeth can grow a little less than an inch every year.

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groundhog44. They hibernate!

A lot of the mammals who live in Delaware stay active during the winter, but not groundhogs! They eat a lot during the fall, pack on the pounds, and then they burrow into the ground and fall asleep for the winter. While hibernating, they can lower their body temperature from around 99 degrees to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and sometimes even colder temperatures! Their heartbeat and breathing also slows down. During that time, they use their extra fat as fuel to keep them alive. Then, they wake up in the spring!

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groundhog55. Groundhog Day used to be Candlemas Day!

Groundhog Day has been celebrated on February 2nd in Punxsutawney, PA since the early 1800s. It falls on the Christian holiday of Candlemas, the festival of light. The superstition goes that if it’s sunny on Candlemas, then there will be six more weeks of winter. However, if it’s cloudy, then Spring is coming! So, in Europe, if a hedgehog emerged from hibernation on Candlemas and saw his shadow, uh oh! More winter! When Europeans came to America, groundhogs were chosen as a substitute, since there were no wild hedgehogs here.

Sun on Feb. 2nd meant MORE winter!

Do you want to celebrate Groundhogs with Delaware Nature Society? Come on over to Ashland Nature Center on February 1st at 10am for the Groundhog Gala! We’ll be meeting a Groundhog puppet friend, visiting an outdoor burrow, playing games, and crafting our own furry friend!

The Groundhog Gala is a seasonal family program, perfect for families with kids below ten years old! Learn more and register HERE! or, call (302) 239-2334 to register over the phone!

Summer Lovin’

The groundhog may be hibernating, but we sure are not! We are ready for the  Delaware Nature Society’s Summer Camps to begin!

Groundhog is ready for Summer Camp

Even the groundhog is excited about Summer Camp!

 

If you like hiking, catching frogs or butterflies, canoeing and kayaking, crafts, birding…

It's a bird...

It’s a bird…it’s a raptor…it’s Summer Camp 2013!

…cooking,  fishing, geology, building forts, archery, or just the general thrill of being outside in nature, don’t wait to sign up!

 

Tell your parents to mark their calendars, because Summer Camp registration starts this Friday!

February 1-14: DNS members with Household Plus level or higher

February 15-28: All other current DNS members with a Household membership.

March 1: Non-Member registration begins

 

Be sure to check out our website www.delawarenaturesociety.org to see our awesome list of Summer Camp programs!

We're...

We’re ready to get our Summer Camp on, are you!?

Back and Kicking in the Spring!

Hey all you nature lovers! It has been a while since our last post because of the crazy amount of people that have been coming to our DNS sites. But we are back and ready to kick it into high gear! From now on, there will be at least one post a week towards the end of the week about what is happening in nature. Herp Room Animal of the Month will also begin again starting with the video for the American Alligator next week. We will also be posting more information about our school programs and our upcoming members programs. It’s going to get exciting here and we are going to kick it off with this post!

First things first; Spring has exploded! Groundhogs have appeared, along with spring peepers, toads and pickerel frogs. We have also seen a ton of northern brown snakes.

One of three northern brown snakes caught in two days. This one was spotted by teacher/naturalist Cassie Kane.


Many different wildflowers are out as well like spring beauty and trout lilies.

Spring wildflowers are bringing all kinds of insects. This wasp is really enjoying the spring beauties!


And we can’t forget about the birds! Phoebes and also both tree and barn swallows have all been sighted. We also have a great picture taken by Victoria D’Ascenzo, a student from the Star Cyber School! During their visit to Ashland, she took this picture of a tree swallow while participating in our Nature Photography program.

Thanks Victoria for this great tree swallow picture!


Finally, last but not least… the wood frog eggs have hatched!! Thanks to a fancy underwater camera, we were able to get a close-up look att these tadpoles as well as a red spotted newt that were all found in our marsh here at Ashland.

Whew! That was a lot of stuff and there is going to be so much more! Keep checking the blog out for updates. Remember, we are posting at least once a week from now on! Until then my fellow nature lovers… Stay Wild!

Signs of Spring!


Calling all nature lovers! It’s that time of the year! Days are getting longer, birds are starting to sing, and flowers are starting to bloom. Spring is in the air and our wild world is waking up. We want you to keep a look out for who is waking up right now. Go out in to your backyard and look for signs of spring. There are 20 different plants and animals that we are looking for to tell us that winter is over.
FIND US!!
Groundhog
Wood Frog egg mass
Spring Peeper
American Toad
Pickerel Frog
Garter Snake
Water Snake
Snapping Turtle
Anglewing Butterfly
Eastern Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
House Wren
Robin building nest
Snowdrops blooming
Skunk Cabbage blooming
Bloodroot blooming
Spring Beauty blooming
Trout Lily blooming
Violet blooming

Send us pictures, tell us stories and we will put them up on the blog every week until we have found them all! Send your stuff to austin@delawarenaturesociety.org and we will get it up. So get out there and find some signs of spring, and remember, as always, Stay Wild!