February second. The day each year when we look towards an oversized rodent to find out how much more winter we’ll endure. In honor of the occasion, here’s seven things you might not have known about the groundhog.
1. The groundhog’s scientific name is Marmota monax, making it one of fourteen types of marmot that can be found in the Northern Hemisphere. Marmots are members of the Sciuridae family, which makes the groundhog just a really big ground squirrel.
2. As just noted, groundhogs are a type of marmot. So you can accurately say, hey, the marmot saw its shadow. You could also refer to them as woodchucks, whistle-pigs, or land-beavers depending on where you’re from. The name whistle-pig comes from the high-pitched whistle that groundhogs emit to warm the rest of a colony about danger. And contrary to what you might think, the name woodchuck has nothing to do with wood. It’s derived from the Algonquian name for the animal, wuchak. A big enough groundhog could nevertheless chuck…
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