Tomorrow, February 2, is Groundhog’s Day – a holiday of sorts that is unique to the US and Canada.
Since this is a dog blog, we wanted to see what dogs and groundhogs have in common.
A groundhog is a large sciurid*. Dogs don’t know what that is – hopefully something to eat.
Groundhogs like to eat alfalfa. Dogs? Are you kidding?
Groundhogs are well adapted for digging with short, but powerful, limbs and curved, thick claws. Dog also dig – bones, prized plants and anything that smells good to them and yucky to you.
Groundhogs prefer open country. So do many dogs. That’s especially true of the sporting and herding breeds.
Groundhogs are often hunted for sport. They have many predators that include wolves, cougars, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, bears, eagles and … dogs.
Groundhogs are accomplished swimmers. As are many dogs.
Groundhogs are excellent burrowers, making dens underground. Dogs also burrow—under pillows, bed spreads and their owners’ clothing.
Groundhogs hibernate from October to March or April. Dogs don’t hibernate in the winter. They sleep about 20 hours a day, no matter what season it is.
Groundhogs are fastidious. They lick their paws to clean their faces. Dogs lick themselves too, but they usually zero in on other body parts.
The legend goes that if on February 2 a groundhog sees his shadow, we can expect six more weeks of winter.
Dogs don’t care if it’s February 2. But if awakened from a sound sleep by a man in a strange-looking hat, they might very well agree with the groundhog and bite him on the ear.