Our current patient of the week is this handsome groundhog. Unfortunately, he was hit by a car and sustained mild body trauma. With supportive care and plenty of yummy dishes, he will be ready for release soon!
Groundhogs are known by many different names including woodchucks, whistle pigs, and land beavers. They are diurnal (active during the day) from spring to fall. Most activity occurs during the early morning and early evening hours, at which groundhogs emerge from their burrows to gather food.
Groundhogs are true hibernators, entering a deep sleep in late October or early November. During hibernation, a groundhog’s temperature drops from 99° F to 40° F, and its heartbeat slows from100 beats per minute to 4. During this time, groundhogs survive on the fat reserves that they accumulate from their hefty summer and fall diets.
If you see a groundhog in need of help, please refrain from touching it, and give your local wildlife rehabilitator a call. They will be able to walk you through the proper handling techniques so you can avoid causing additional injuries to the animal while keeping the good Samaritan safe.