Saturday, January 31, 2009

Happy Groundhog Day - Feb 2, 2009

Meet Ms Piggy: A baby groundhog I had in rehab in 2008. Cutest little thing I have EVERY seen or worked with. She was found rolling on the highway and picked up before she got hit by a kind woman. The woman took her to Petsmart, and they called me! So lucky for me! this is a story from last year...but I could not resist considering the fact the Monday, Feb 2nd is......ta da...Ground Hog Day! That's's that time of year when Punxsutawney Phil (yes that is right you Atlantians, General Lee is a FAKE), comes out to forecast the upcoming weather like the tradition has held for 120 years. Yes, Phil WAS the first and ONLY real hogs in the US! All others are FAKES. So take that! I just wonder if Phil (who I think is really Philameana) comes out of Gobbler's Knob at 7:45 am to profess his love of his shadow. The celebration of Groundhog Day began with Pennsylvania's earliest settlers. They brought with them the legend of Candlemas Day, which states, "For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl in May..."

Facts about the hogs:

The average groundhog is 20 inches long and normally weighs from 12 to 15 pounds. Punxsutawney Phil weighs about 20 pounds and is 22 inches long.
  • Groundhogs are covered with coarse grayish hairs (fur) tipped with brown or sometimes dull red. They have short ears, a short tail, short legs, and are surprisingly quick.
  • The hog's jaws are exceptionally strong....well he needs it to chew all his greens. YES folks that is right, the groundhog's is a vegan! His diet consists of lots of greens, fruits, and vegetables and very little water. Most of their liquids come from dewy leaves.
  • A groundhog can whistle when it is alarmed. Groundhogs also whistle in the spring when they begin courting. Yes the girls do whistle at the boys too!
  • Insects do not bother groundhogs and germs pretty much leave them alone. They are resistant to the plagues that periodically wipe out large numbers of wild animals. One reason for this is their cleanliness.
    Groundhogs are one of the few animals that really hibernate. Hibernation is not just a deep sleep. It is actually a deep coma, where the body temperature drops to a few degrees above freezing, the heart barely beats, the blood scarcely flows, and breathing nearly stops.
  • Young Groundhogs are usually born in mid-April or May, and by July they are able to go out on their own. The size of the litter is 4 to 9. A baby groundhog is called a kit or a cub.
  • A groundhog's life span is normally 6 to 8 years. Phil receives a drink of a magical punch every summer during the annual Groundhog Picnic, which gives him 7 more year

Groundhog are one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES to rehab. can you resist those CUTE little faces and those fat bodies!

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