Groundhogs, also called woodchucks, are a rodent that are commonly found in North America from Alaska to the U.S state of Georgia. Groundhogs are related to other ground squirrels, such as chipmunks and prairie dogs. These rodents are known for creating elaborate burrows where they sleep and hibernate for the winter. They rarely stray far from these burrows and they are usually created close to their food source/s. Let’s take a closer look at the diet of the groundhog.
What do groundhogs eat?
The groundhog is primarily a herbivore (plant eater) and will eat a variety of wild grasses and vegetation. This can include flowers, bark, roots, leaves, fruit, vegetables and other crops if they are close by. They have been known to wipe out entire crops at times and can be considered an agricultural pest in this circumstance. They usually feed on the ground, but will climb to eat certain foods at times. Groundhogs will also eat insects, grubs, snails, grasshoppers and an occasional small animal. They are also known for eating nuts, but will not store them for later like squirrels. Before they enter hibernation they begin to feed at a very high rate to put on as much weight as possible before the winter comes.
Groundhogs in captivity
The temperament of this animal means that they are not usually domesticated, but they are sometimes kept as pets. In this case the groundhog should be fed on a similar diet to a rabbit. Edible greens, fruit and vegetables are all part of a balanced diet. Specialized rabbit pellet food is also commonly used.
Did you know?
These animals have somewhat of a special place in American culture, and on February 2 a celebration known as Groundhog Day takes place. According to the legend if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges then spring comes early, but if it is sunny there will be 6 more weeks of winter weather. The movie of the same name led to an increase in the popularity of this event.