Six Fun Facts about Groundhogs

Groundhog Day is an American tradition that takes place every February 2nd. Large crowds of people gather in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to watch a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil come out of hibernation. If Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his den and sees his shadow, legend has it there will be six more weeks of winter.  If he doesn't see his shadow, then we can expect an early spring.  What do we know about groundhogs?  Are groundhogs magical creatures who can predict the weather?  Or... are they just regular critters who go about doing normal critter things?  Keep reading to find out!

Learn about groundhogs, where they live, what they eat, and how they build their burrows.  Includes a free mini-research printable for classroom use.
(This is an updated version of a blog post I wrote in 2017.)

Fun Facts About Groundhogs

1. Groundhogs are not magical creatures capable of predicting the weather.  They are large rodents who are in the marmot family.  They are a type of ground squirrel... surprise!

Learn about groundhogs, where they live, what they eat, and how they build their burrows.  Includes a free mini-research printable for classroom use.

2. Groundhogs live in North America and can be found in the wooded areas of the United States and Canada.  They prefer to live where the edge of the woods and grassy areas meet.  Groundhogs will burrow in the woods during the winter and nest in grassy areas during warmer weather.

Learn about groundhogs, where they live, what they eat, and how they build their burrows.  Includes a free mini-research printable for classroom use.

3. Groundhogs are herbivores and can eat up to a pound of food at once  They prefer to eat flowers, fruit, tree bark, clover, dandelions, maple leaves, and grass.  They also like to go into farmers' gardens and eat their crops.  Soybeans, corn, cabbages, apples, berries, and carrots are some of their favorite crops to eat.  If groundhogs can't find enough food to eat, they will resort to eating snails, slugs, grasshoppers, and other insects.

Learn about groundhogs, where they live, what they eat, and how they build their burrows.  Includes a free mini-research printable for classroom use.

4. Groundhogs are called woodchucks.  Interestingly, the name woodchuck has nothing to do with chucking wood.  (How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?)  The name woodchuck comes from the Native American word wuchak which means digger.  Groundhogs are also called whistle pigs and land beavers.

Learn about groundhogs, where they live, what they eat, and how they build their burrows.  Includes a free mini-research printable for classroom use.

5.  Groundhog burrows are surprisingly complex.  There are multiple levels with several chambers on each one.  There are also be special chambers in these burrows made specifically for defecation... or for going 'poop!'

Learn about groundhogs, where they live, what they eat, and how they build their burrows.  Includes a free mini-research printable for classroom use.

6. Groundhogs are solitary creatures and prefer to be left alone.  When they feel threatened, they will hide in their burrows, climb trees, run, or swim away.  They will, however, whistle to other woodchucks in the area to let them know to beware.  If groundhogs can't escape from their predators, they will become aggressive and fight.  They will use their sharp, curved claws and large front teeth to protect themselves.

Learn about groundhogs, where they live, what they eat, and how they build their burrows.  Includes a free mini-research printable for classroom use.

These are just a few interesting facts about groundhogs, and there is so much more to learn about them.  There are a wide variety of resources online you and your students can check out.  The picture below shows a mini-research project that I like to complete with my students.  It's a simple, straightforward activity that can be completed as a group or independently.  If you'd like to use it with your students, feel free to download it and print it up.

Learn about groundhogs, where they live, what they eat, and how they build their burrows.  Includes a free mini-research printable for classroom use.

To download a FREE copy of this mini-research project (one page in all), please click on the image above. Clicking this image will take you to the Teachers-Pay-Teachers third party website. This is a FREE download-- no purchase necessary.

Learn about groundhogs, where they live, what they eat, and how they build their burrows.  Includes a free mini-research printable for classroom use.
Learn about groundhogs, where they live, what they eat, and how they build their burrows.  Includes a free mini-research printable for classroom use. Learn about groundhogs, where they live, what they eat, and how they build their burrows.  Includes a free mini-research printable for classroom use.

Not too long ago, Mrs. Boatright (another teacher) used this mini-research project with her first-grade students.  They read a book about groundhogs, completed the mini-research record sheet together, and used their knowledge to practice their writing skills.  Love it!  How else can you teach your students about groundhogs?

Learn about groundhogs, where they live, what they eat, and how they build their burrows.  Includes a free mini-research printable for classroom use.

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