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The groundhog is a species that is best known for its association with the film Groundhog Day, which features a famous groundhog called Punxsutawney Phil, which is said to predict the weather during a festival on 2 February every year. While Phil lives a comfortable life in his home town of Punxsutawney, the species is one that is found across much of the east of the United States and up into the north western states too. These creatures are quite strong and squat, and have thick claws to help them dig and burrow, and certainly those older adults can actually grow to a fairly large size.
The Growth Cycle Of Groundhogs
The groundhogs will usually breed in the spring, and when they are born the baby groundhogs are small and very vulnerable, as they are both deaf and blind, and they will usually grow their first coat of hair within the first few months. As they grow their mother will start to wean them, and after around four months the young will usually be ready to go out on their own and will have learned many of their scavenging and survival techniques for their lives away from the mother. The creatures will continue to grow throughout their lives, but as they prepare to hibernate through the winter, groundhogs will usually be at their largest when they will be building up their fat stores.
A Normal Size For Adults
There are several features that can affect how large the groundhog will grow, particularly when it comes to the food sources available, and areas with large alfalfa sources provide good nutrition for groundhogs. In terms of their size, adult groundhogs will usually be between 16 and 26 inches in length from nose to tail. In terms of their weight, most areas will have groundhogs weighing up to nine pounds, but these creatures that can access alfalfa as a source of food, and where there are relatively few predators can actually grow a fair amount more, with the largest examples weighing up to thirty pounds in some cases.
The Largest Groundhogs On Record
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to finding the largest groundhogs is that they are not generally kept in captivity so are not regularly weighed or measured. However, there are plenty of people who hunt and shoot groundhogs, and in terms of the size of those killed, some hunters do report groundhogs up to around thirty five pounds from time to time. There are also records of large groundhogs found in fossils from history, in Southern Gondwana, with experts estimating this ancient species actually weighed at least twenty pounds, which would have made them even larger than most modern groundhogs.
Dealing With An Adult Groundhog On Your Property
While there are many creatures that actually live underground, groundhogs are one of the creatures that are best designed to dig their own burrows with their strong legs and tough claws, and if they do dig a burrow on your property they can become a real nuisance. Trapping is the best way of dealing with the animal, and while live traps mean you will have to relocate the groundhog, lethal trapping will give you a carcass that you have to deal with. Unfortunately with these creatures, closing the entrances to the burrow won't work, as they can just dig another exit, while repellents are also ineffective when it comes to dealing with a problem groundhog. Once you have removed the groundhog, try to look for any weaknesses in the fence that may have let the animal in, and try to remove any holes that may let more animals into your property.
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