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Groundhog's Day is coming up soon. It's a perfect time to learn more about this fascinating animal.

Groundhogs have a number of common names. They are also called woodchucks or whistle pigs. Their scientific name is Marmota monax. They belong to the taxonomic group marmots. Groundhogs are rodents, so they have large front teeth or incisors. They also have sharp claws for digging their big burrows.

(Public Domain Illustration)

It is not unusual to see groundhogs sitting next to their burrows or eating plants along highways. Perhaps that's why I've seen them often, but don't have a single photograph.

For older children:

Susan and Joe Sam have spent a great deal of time studying, photographing, and videoing families of woodchucks that live near their home. See their new website, Woodchuck Wonderland™. (Note:  The website does discuss the entire life cycle of the woodchuck, including mating.) They have made many interesting discoveries regarding the family behavior of woodchucks. I highly recommend the photo galleries.

For preschoolers:

Groundhog Day Play By Roberta Gibson

It is February 2, Groundhog Day. Groundhog is looking for his shadow. People say that if he sees his shadow there will be six more months of winter.

Where is Groundhog?

He’s in his burrow.
Can he see his shadow?
No, it’s dark in there.
Where is Groundhog?
Can he see his shadow?
No, he’s behind the big rock.
Where is Groundhog?
He’s behind that tree.
Can he see his shadow?
No, the tree trunk is blocking the light.
Where is Groundhog now?
Can he see his shadow?
No, he’s hiding behind Deer.
Where is Groundhog?
He’s standing out in the sun.
Can he see his shadow?
Yes, he can!
Back to bed Groundhog. You can sleep for six more weeks.

Related:

Earlier Groundhog's Day Science post with shadow activities