During our time in Williamsburg, Grayden and I stayed in a condo next to a golf course. We had a patio that we enjoyed in the afternoons after touring around the colonial area. The weather was so lovely and warm we would enjoy a snack and a tea or coffee while relaxing.
The view just beyond the golf course was a lovely habitat for birds and I'm sure critters that we didn't see. What we did see on most all of the days there was a groundhog! I know--Did you see the Caddyshack movie about a groundhog on a golf course?
Well here is our friend the groundhog! There was a line of oak trees and tons of acorns under them! After reading about groundhogs I've learned they gorge themselves all summer and stop eating after the first frost before retreating to their underground burrow until spring.
It was fun to watch this fellow getting his fill. Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks and whistle pigs. The term woodchuck was derived from the Algonquian name "wuchak", "wejak", "otchek." These terms mean fishers. The term whistle pigs is used in Appalachia. It comes from the fact that they use a high pitch whistle sound to warn other groundhogs of danger nearby.
Groundhogs are actually members of the same family as squirrels. These marmots are in the same family as chipmunks and prairie dogs. Groundhogs can weigh up to 15 pounds.
We guess that our little friend weighed near that weight. Their burrows are often used by other animals. Foxes, skunks, opossums, rabbits, and raccoons make themselves at home in their burrows if given the opportunity.
Groundhogs are mainly herbivores but have been known to eat insects and grubs.
Groundhogs are truly among a small group of true hibernators. Our Groundhog Day started because of a German tradition of watching the badger emerge in spring, but the badger is totally unrelated to the groundhog.
We enjoyed our daily viewing of this little fellow. Thank you for taking a look at him.