Thursday, February 2, 2017

Groundhog day?

WBIR Live@5@4 roving reporter Emily Stroud
Groundhogs (Marmota monax) are rather chunky large rodents, actually grouped with the ground squirrels like chipmunks and prairie dogs. They live underground in burrows where they hibernate during the winter. Mostly the nearsighted mammals are herbivorous primarily eating wild grasses and other vegetation, including berries and agricultural crops. 

Locally they eat oodles of kudzu. That's a good thing because we have more than enough of the highly invasive non-native plant that takes over entire fields, abandoned cars and buildings, even roadsigns. I think we once had a Blue Circle Drive-in here on Chapman Highway and now it's completely gone. The vine grows faster than groundhogs can really eat it, so we could use an army of robust kudzu-ivores.

But do East Tennessee groundhogs really poke their heads out of their burrows on this day to prognosticate the weather? Really? Isn't that meteorologist Todd Howell's job? WBIR reporter Emily Stroud and videographer Tim Dale came to the nature center today to check on our resident marmota. 

Did they find a groundhog? Did it see its shadow? Ask Emily.

Or go online to her report: Groundhog Day with Emily  

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