I love groundhogs. I know they are part of the rodent family, but I think of the little critters our front field as a sort of pet dog that lives in the wild. Growing up we always called them woodchucks. (I googled this and found that stems from the Algonquian name for the animal, wuchak)
Recently, I also was amused to hear my Dad calling them “whistle pigs”. He told me that growing up the boys in his family would whistle in order to get the groundhogs to stand up in the field and look around. When they are not feeding they will stand alert, watching for danger….and if alarmed the groundhog will use a high pitched whistle to warn the others in the colony. Hence the name whistle pig. Apparently my Dad speaks their language…. because he whistles and you see three or four little guys pop up around the field!
The other reason I love groundhogs is the amazing attributes that God has given them. They are one of the few true hibernators…. unlike bears they need several hours to wake up while sleeping in winter. (Whereas if you go disturb a bear during its winter sleep….it will immediately wake up and make its displeasure known!)
Plus during hibernation a groundhog will:
- They breath once every four minute
- Heart beats only 4x a minute….down from 80 beats per min
- Their body temp. drops from 99 degrees to 36 degrees
And they stay like that for almost 8 months, all without food and water! Most of the year they are nearly dead and frozen! But every year I watch the furry, albeit thinner, critters emerge from their burrows and begin munching away. If that is not the Lord’s hand in preserving them…..then I don’t know what is!
“The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.”