Groundhog's Day

Groundhog's Day is a holiday in the United States. It's a day when Punxataney Phil (the famous groundhog) predicts what will happen with the seasons. It's televised and the results are in the news.

 American English Podcast

American English Podcast

By Shana Thompson

Start listening at minute 8:20.


Let’s go ahead and begin with the fact of the day, which is Groundhog’s Day. And first off, let’s talk about the groundhog. A groundhog is casually called a woodchuck in American English and scientifically called the Marmota Monax.

Groundhogs are the biggest member in the squirrel family. Its head and body together can grow up to 24 inches in length and its tail, another 9.75 inches. They can weigh up to 13 pounds.

Like squirrels they are brownish gray in color and their coat has two layers. The bottom layer is fur and the top layer is made up of grayish brown coarse hair.

The majority of groundhogs in the world can be found in the central or eastern parts of the US, Canada and up in Alaska, which is the US’s largest state.

They often live between forests and fields and spend most of their days building very complex tunnel systems underground that we call burrows. In them, in these burrows, they store food, the nest and hibernate.

That’s right. Groundhogs are true hibernators. They fall asleep in October and wake up in early spring.

And for that reason, they need to store up on fat in spring, summer and fall to help them survive during these cold winter months. In fact, in one day, a groundhog can eat up to one third of its body weight in plants, veggies, flowers and other types of vegetation. So they’re herbivores. They eat plants and veggies. They do not eat meat. They’re not omnivores or carnivores.

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Shana - ESL Teacher

Hi Everyone! I am an ESL teacher from California and the host of the American English Podcast. Learn more about me and my teaching experience here.

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