What is a groundhog’s mating habits, when do they have babies, how do they raise their young?
The groundhogs are rodents native to North America. Groundhogs live in fields, forests and meadows. They will first choose to live on land that has a bit of humidity, i.e. good water source, but also with good drainage, so that den stays dry and warm. Groundhogs spend most of their life alone, building their dens alone and looking for food alone, especially when they are working on building fat layer to survive long, cold winter. Only time when they will search for a partner is during mating season that starts right at the end of Winter, i.e. at the end of February. This is time when temperatures slowly start rising and groundhogs wake up from hibernation. This is period when males will look for females, focusing on female hormones-scents they feel in the air. Groundhog pheromones are clear signs that female is ready for mating and this is period when males will look for her in an effort to impregnate her. As soon as the female groundhog is pregnant, male will go their own way.
Female will stay on her own to deliver babies after about a month of carrying them in womb. Female groundhog usually delivers up to 9 baby groundhogs. Babies are born blink, naked and approximately 2 inches in length. Mother keeps babies inside a den for about 45 days, because they are blind and completely depending on mother. Babies will start going outside and learn to look for the food themselves during May, and when mid summer approaches, babies will be almost ready to care for themselves, already size of almost an adult groundhog. At mid July baby groundhogs are approximately 11 inches in length and weight about 4 pounds and are ready to build their own home. Baby groundhogs make their dens close to mother’s, which enables them to come and ask for help when they need it, but still live on their own. Not many young groundhogs survive first year of their life, because they cross paths with many predators that see easy prey in them. If they manage to survive these first 12 months, they can live up to 6-7 years.
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