Groundhogs have unfortunately obtained the reputation of being more of a joke than anything. This is due to things such as the movie Groundhog Day and the actual Groundhog Day. Don’t get us wrong, we love Bill Murray and Punxsutawney Phil as much as the next person, but these aren’t accurate representations of what a groundhog is or stands for!
Groundhogs are essential to their occupied ecosphere because they help keep vegetation in check. In fact, groundhogs eat 1/3 of their bodyweight in vegetation each and every day! With such strong appetites for vegetation, ground hogs are able to keep shrubs from overgrowing. Without regulation, a patch of shrubs will continue to creep forward for as many years as it is alive. This can overtake essential grass and trees, that will need to water and soil in order to live. Groundhogs are one of the most effective ways of controlling this.
However, groundhogs are also notorious for tearing into gardens and destroying crops. Again, groundhogs absolutely love vegetation. Anyone whom has a garden in an area that has groundhogs should put up preventative netting around their crops. While this won’t completely deter the groundhogs, it will slow them down enough to where they may go for easier food (e.g. shrubs and weeds).
Groundhogs are typically seen during the daytime. During the nighttime, groundhogs tend to bury themselves in their vast network of underground tunnels, also known as burrows.
You can think of the burrows in a similar vain to how you would think of an ant colony – a wide, multi-chamber network that’s designed to both product the groundhog and provide a means of traveling from place to place.
Groundhogs tend to keep to themselves, unlike the previously mentioned squirrels. Groundhogs are always very suspicious that they’re going to be hunted – and rightfully so. Millions of groundhogs are senselessly killed each and every year. This is because people feel that they are a nuisance. If people were more educated on the benefits of a groundhog, then maybe they wouldn’t kill them.
Squirrels are one of the most common types of animals that you will see in the continental United States. They are literally everywhere – whether you’re in the city or a rural area, you’re going to see some squirrels.
This is because squirrels are one of the most adaptive species on Earth. Think about it – it takes one heck of an animal to be able to live in both New York City and the middle-of-nowhere Nebraska.
Squirrels are able to adapt so well due to their ancestral history. Squirrels have been dated as far back as the Eocene, making them one of the oldest living species still on this planet. While squirrels are most native to the Americas and Europe, they have recently been introduced to Australia.
As we all know, Australia has a very sensitive ecosphere; so the decision to bring squirrels in was not taken lightly.
Squirrels typically breed a couple of times per year, with the number of offspring being born varying. Variable factors include the climate in which the offspring are being born in and the amount of resources that the parent squirrels have. If the squirrels live in a climate where there are a lot of predators, then the parents are going to produce more offspring. The reason for this is because the squirrels know that not all of their children are going to make it. In order to give the species the best chance of surviving, they need to produce many children.
Squirrels are also one of the more social animals on the planet. If you walk into a more urban environment, such as a city, you’ll notice that squirrels are impervious to humans and cars wandering around them. Squirrels also have no problem going up to humans in order to retrieve food.
Squirrels are truly incredible creatures that definitely do not get enough recognition for their intelligence.