Fast Fact: Groundhogs

Updated: Mar 2

Woodchuck and groundhog are two different names for the same animal, and these critters get most of their attention on just one day a year: February 2, or Groundhog Day. Each year on February 2, Americans anxiously await whether a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow. If he does, it allegedly means we will have six more weeks of winter. No shadow means an early spring.


As you can imagine, Phil and his fellow groundhogs are not very accurate weather predictors. What groundhogs (or woodchucks, if you prefer) are good at is digging. Their underground burrows can be up to 30 feet deep, and they usually include a series of tunnels and chambers with multiple entrances and exits. They even have chambers they use just for eliminating waste, just like we have bathrooms.


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Groundhog and woodchuck are two names for the same animal. (Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)