February 2 is Groundhog Day celebrated in Pennsylvania, New York, and Canada. It is believed that on his day, if a groundhog emerges from its burrow and sees its shadow, the winter will continue for six more weeks; otherwise the winter will end soon. The National Climatic Data Center studied the statistics of such Groundhog Day predictions, and reported that the prediction accuracy rate is around 39%. Which is still higher than for most weather forecasters.
Photoshop groundhogs any way you wish. Some examples are - merge groundhogs with other animals or even celebrities, photoshop anything related to Groundhog Day, show how life would be different if groundhogs ruled the world. These are just some ideas.
coolkat85 Frosty the snowman wanted to make sure that this little fellow's shadow was big enough to see so , he stood in back of him. Frosty wanted to make sure there would be six more weeks of spring.
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This contest is fueled by the following news: The groundhog (Latin - Marmota) is a mammal and a representative of the order Rodentia, from the family Sciuridae and the genus Marmota.
There are fourteen varieties of groundhogs on the planet. Their ancestral place is America. Many animals on the land (as human beings) never united Asia and America, and got across into a new world, but the Marmots moved in opposite direction. It is assumed, that the ancestors of all the marmots are the same. Isolated in different geographical zones and preserving the exterior similarities (and also the necessity of a winter sleep), they are little differentiated according to their behavior, however even in these they have some similarities – vegetarians, habitats of burrows, warmly clad and almost all times being in colonies. Marmots are divided into flat (marmot) and alpine, living in distinctly difficult conditions, on the border of Alpine meadows, where the summer heat enters late and the winter will be earlier.
The burrows of the groundhogs give shelter to many types of wild animals, snakes and birds. River otters, chipmunks, domestic mice, jumping mice and white leg hamsters use the empty burrows of groundhogs. Rabbits, opossums, raccoons and skunks may pass the winter in single burrow with sleeping marmots. Their burrows are also dug-out and occupied by foxes.
The groundhog eats the vegetative parts of plants. Feeding, as a rule, takes place on the ground, though in the search for food groundhogs may climb onto trees or on requirement they may swim over water bays. The diet of the groundhog is leaves, flowery plants (plantain, dandelion), motley grass and cereal crops; the composition of the diet changes depending on the season and the local access of food and individual preferences. Occasionally marmots eat snails, beetles, and grasshoppers. During early spring, when verdure is rare, marmots may eat crusts, buds and sprouts including fruit trees and bushes (apple tree, cornelian cherries, bird cherry, peach and the red color mulberry). As the preferable food of marmots is alfalfa and clover, marmots are frequently on fields seeded by them; they eat even vegetable crops (pea, beans). In captivity, preference is given to wild lettuce, clover, meadow grass and melilot. In day time, the adult marmot consumes up to 0.67kg of food, though usually its amount does not exceed 250g per day. The groundhog gets water predominately from eaten up greenery or from the morning dew. Groundhogs do not keep spare food.
In autumn marmots strongly fatten by accumulating fats. Many individuals in high latitudes already in the middle of august are less active, in other localities they come out from burrows and after the start of the frost; young male marmots are specially strong before snow fall. For dormancy, marmots relocate in forest localities, on rocky slopes, and sometimes pass the winter in stacks. The dormancy of groundhogs is not so deep as of other types of marmots – 4 to 10 days dormancy broken up by 1 - 5 days of wakefulness, though the sleeping periods increase gradually. During thaws, marmots also may spill for a short term. Generally dormancy continues from October to March – April; marmots wake up in the beginning of February by the warm winters in the south of its natural habitat. During dormancy, the metabolic processes depress for marmots: the number of heart beats falls from 100 to 10—15 impacts per minute, the temperature of the body gets reduced up to 8˚С, and the frequency of breathing also reduces significantly.
First, male marmots come out from dormancy, sometimes even in February. From the beginning of March till the end of April male marmots roam around in search of female marmots by entering into confrontation between them or by protecting their home areas from competitors. The male marmot mates with several female marmots which enter in to estrus immediately after they wakeup. In some parts of the natural habitat (Ohio), the generated pair remains in a common burrow during the entire period of pregnancy of the female marmot. The pregnancy continues for 31—32 days. The female marmot on average gives birth to 4 (2—7) baby animals once in a year; the delivery takes place in nidifugous burrow. Every year, around 70 to 80% of adult male marmots participate in reproduction. The baby animals are born between April – May naked, deaf and blind. The newly born marmot weighs 26 - 27g with body length of about 10 cm. During the first week its skin gets a pigment color; in the second week a short black wool appears on the body; the eyes open on the 26 – 28th day when the baby animal shifts over to solid food. The hair of the one month old already grows well. Milk feeding continues up to 44 days. Male marmots do not participate in taking care of their descendants. By the 6 - 7th week young marmots start settling separately; initially they dig temporary burrows near to the nidifugous burrow, but in the course of time move away further. Pubescence starts from the first dormancy for marmots.
In nature, groundhogs live for 4 – 6 years; the maximum known age in captivity was 14 years, though generally they live up to 10 years.
Groundhogs are susceptible to the atherosclerosis, fibroma, hepatitis, hepatoma, tularemia, rocky mounted spotty fever, hydrophobia and different bacterial infections; different exo and endo parasites (flea, ticks, nematodes) parasitize them.