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  • Waco Educational Article of the Month - About Groundhogs: Appearance, Biology, Life Cycle, Habitat, Diet, Behavior

About Groundhogs: Appearance, Biology, Life Cycle, Habitat, Diet, Behavior

About Groundhogs: Appearance, Biology, Life Cycle, Habitat, Diet, Behavior

The Waco groundhog is a type of a rodent which belongs to the family of a large group of ground squirrels which are known as marmots. They live in lowland areas, close by a water source and found all over the North American continent- ranging from Alaska to Georgia and Canada.

The groundhogs are much larger than an average large squirrel with their body length somewhere around 16-20 inches, excluding the thick bushy tail. Their body is covered with a fur coating which is brownish-gray in color, although those who live in the albino climate have white fur.

A Waco groundhog has short powerful limbs along with curved thick claws which makes it ideally suited for hunting. Their spine is curved, more like a mole which helps in maintaining perfect posture while digging. Their eyes, ears and nose are situated at the top of the head which allows them to remain concealed in their burrows or while searching for food sources.

Life cycle
At birth, a groundhog is without fur and eyes and opens its eyes after 4 weeks and it first goes outside from its burrow after the 6th week. In the wild a Waco groundhog can live for around 6 years while in captivity they can survive up to 14 years. They are widely preyed upon by wolves, eagles, coyotes and even men making it susceptible to not last its potential lifetime.

Texas Groundhogs are excellent diggers and can unearth an estimated 700 pound of soil in its entire lifetime. They dig underground and make burrows in which several of the individuals live in. These burrows are used a retreat during bad weather, escaping from a pray or simply to hibernate. A burrow can be as long as 14 meters wide, posing a serious threat to soil stability and agricultural output.

The Waco groundhogs are primarily Herbivores and feed on grass and agricultural produce making it a pest many farmers want to get rid of. They also feed on grasshoppers, snails and other insects. Their eating style is similar to that of a squirrel in which they sit upright and consume their food.

They are primarily shy in nature and avoid contact with others by hiding when they can sense an observer, and go back to their burrows when they sense a threat. When they feel threatened they emit a high pitched whistle as a warning sign to the rest of the colony members. When their burrows are invaded, they also fight for their ground tenaciously with the help of their claws and teeth. Texas Groundhogs are very good swimmers as well and can climb trees very quickly as well in order to escape a predator.

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