In the Wild with Greg Wagner


THE GROUNDHOG, GROUNDHOG DAY AND GROUNDHOG CELEBRATION by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

The Groundhog or Woodchuck (Marmota monax).

Tomorrow, February 2, 2010 is Groundhog Day (I know you’re thrilled, aren’t you?) . In any event, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to tell you a bit more about the Groundhog, or more properly named the Woodchuck, that is native to the eastern third of Nebraska and is plentiful in number.

Did you know the Groundhog Capitol of Nebraska is Unadilla? This small community,  located on Highway 2 between Nebraska City and Lincoln, hosts a fun Groundhog Celebration on the first Saturday in February. Last year, I was the Grand Marshall of the Groundhog Celebration Parade in town! See the photo below.   

Head Ground Hog Bob Brandt, his grandson and Parade Grand Marshall me - Greg Wagner of Game and Parks on 2-7-2009.

Find out more about this year’s Groundhog Celebration in Unadilla happening Saturday, February 6 by clicking here:

http://www.unadillanebraska.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=192&Itemid=126

Interestingly, the emergence of the Groundhog (or Woodchuck) from its hibernation burrow in early spring is the basis of the ‘Groundhog Day’ observance on February 2. The actual day of emergence varies with conditions and latitude; in the northern parts of the animal’s range (which includes Nebraska), it usually emerges in March. The mating seasons starts as soon as the critter emerges from hibernation.

An excellent source of biological information on the Groundhog/Woodchuck, and the sounds it makes,  is here on the National Geographic website:

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/groundhog.html

See you out there, watching and listening for Groundhogs!

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1 Comment so far
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I loved the photos on the Ground Hog or (woodchuck) remember when we had a Woodchuck under the shed at my home. It did not take long for you to get rid of him. Always doing a great job, that’s my son. Thanks…………..

Comment by Mother




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