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Groundhogs

Photo by D. Gordon E. Robertson, CC 3.0

Okay, so we know that if the groundhog sees his shadow, we’ll have six more weeks of winter. But what is a groundhog anyway?

Our favorite meteorologist, it turns out, is a marmot, a type of rodent closely related to squirrels. Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks—that’s right, woodchucks of “how much wood could a woodchuck chuck” fame.

Groundhogs live in North America from northern Alabama to northern Canada. They did big burrows, sometimes as long as 20 meters and containing several rooms, even a separate bath (but no Jacuzzi as far as I know). Despite these roomy quarters, groundhogs are solitary critters, spending time with other groundhogs only long enough to mate and, for the females, nurse young. They’re rather shy, as well, willing to endure the spotlight only briefly in the interest of meteorology.

Photo by D. Gordon E. Robertson, CC 3.0

Photo by D. Gordon E. Robertson, CC 3.0

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