February 2, 2016

White Dog asked me, "Do we have Ground Hogs in New Mexico?" It was early and it was warm under the covers so I did what every momma has done at some point in their child's life. I said, "Go ask Dad to look it up for you. He is on the computer." And I curled up deeply in the blankets hoping for a few more minutes of sleep.

It seemed like only seconds before White Dog led Steve, Sachi and Nilla in to sit on the bed to tell me according to learner.com, "Marmot is the Latin name for Groundhog. Woodchuck is the Native North American name for Groundhog. 

Groundhogs live in open fields, open woods, valleys and plains. Some species live in different areas. The Woodchuck lives in Alaska to Quebec to British Columbia to the south east U.S." It seems that New Mexico is Groundhog-less. "OK. Great work," I told them and tried to turn over. White Dog stopped me.

"There's more. The head and body of the Groundhog are 40-50 cm. The tail is 10-17.5cm and the average weight of a Groundhog 2.2-4.5 kilograms. Groundhogs have a heavy body, they're short legged and their fur colours are brown, red or black except for albinos like Wiarton Willie. Their fur has a slightly frosted appearance. Their feet are either black or brown the groundhogs don't have any white on their fur, only around their nose.

"All Groundhogs have 22 teeth to eat with. They have a blunt nose, short ears and a bushy tail. Most of the groundhogs have coarse fur. They have black or brown eyes . All Groundhog males are mostly bigger then females.

"Most Groundhogs live up to 4-5 years. In the autumn the Groundhogs get an extra layer of fat to keep them warm in the winter while hibernating. Groundhogs are also warm blooded."

"Absolutely astonishing. Did you hear that YoYoMa?" He, too was trying to sleep on the other side of the bed; he had hidden his head under the blanket spill on the floor.

"This is kind of interesting," Steve added, clearly into fact finding about rodents in the wee hours of the day. "They have two burrows. One for the summer and one for the winter. Their burrows have a spy hole up top to survey the land, a toilet chamber up top so that the vapors can escape through the ground without making the burrow smell, and a nest. Groundhogs can often be seen surveying the land from their spy hole. When the Groundhogs select the area for their burrow they prefer a soft grassy area with a little bit of a slope and lots of leaves around the burrow to provide food.Seems they are tidy and kind of clever." "Hmmmmmmm."

"Alas," White Dog concluded, "the closest we come is a distant relative called the Yellow Bellied Marmot. And I don't think anyone really cares if he sees his shadow. Well, thought you would want to know. Go back to sleep."

And then they were gone. I heard Yo sigh and let out a slow breath. "Finally."

1 comment:

Random Felines said...

nothing like having the encyclopedia version at way too early in the am (though we didn't know a lot of that stuff either) MOL