Groundhogs will on occasion share their home with other groundhogs, however, there are very much loners and considered by experts to be the most solitary of their relatives. They do most of their outdoor activity during the daylight hours and are very active. Those short legs make them a little slow, but that doesn’t keep them going places. In fact they have been seen climbing trees and swimming!
They seem to prefer the warmer daytime hours over any other time, although you may occasionally see the animals out during the nighttime. They like the sun so much, they are often seen basking in the sun on fence posts and rocks-close to burrow entrances, of course.
Groundhogs are true hibernators and spend three (3) to four (4) months of the winter months asleep in their dens. Their sleep is so deep that even when the animal is warmed up it takes several hours for the animal to actually awaken. To help prepare for this long winter’s nap the animals gain an extremely large amount of fat by the summer’s end. The adults will enter hibernation sooner than the younger animals. Experts believe this could be attributed to the fact that is more difficult to put on weight when you are younger. Adults may start to hibernate as early as late December with all animals asleep by the end of October. Most animals will be awake by the end of February with males waking up first.
Groundhogs mate once per year in March and April. The gestational period lasts a mere 30 days at which time they give birth to up to seven (7) babies. Woodchuck young are born pink, hairless, blind and helpless.
Groundhogs are also known as Whistle Pigs. This is because when threatened they will let out a ear piercing squeal that works quite well as a defense against predators. The predators of the whistle pig include foxes, hawks, coyotes, owls, dogs, humans and the automobile.