Awww! Isn't he cute? I have never been able to take a picture of a groundhog until I got this Super Zoom Camera. These are real groundhog days. They are everywhere, fattening up as much as they can for the long winter hibernation. These are actually two different groundhogs that I snapped on two different days. The one standing up eating is in our yard. The other is in front of my hiusband's office. See the picture where all you can see is his head? That's where he spotted us and ran in his hole. He's peeking out. Most men around here want to shoot them. Would you? They are one of fourteen species of marmots, and are the largest members of the squirrel family. They are also called woodchucks, or whistle pigs. This is because they have a loud alarm whistle. One day about a year ago, a groundhog spotted my husband too close to his hole, and emitted a loud whistle. It's hard to forget, and I wish I'd been there. I wonder if my Florida friends have groundhogs? Groundhogs hibernate for the winter, and during that time, their body temperature goes from 99 degrees to 38 degrees, and they only breathe four times a minute. Hibernation is still a mystery to scientists. How does an animal know when to get ready, and how does it's body slow down? Scientists have found a special substance in the blood of hibernating animals called HIT (Hibernation Inducement trigger). If blood is taken out of a hibernating squirrel in the winter, and injected into an active squirrel in spring, that squirrel will go into hibernation. Hibernation is not a deep sleep, but a state of dormant existance, almost like a small death. So it's almost like they rise from the dead every spring. Do you believe the dead sleep? This beleif is called soul sleep. One Bible verse that seems to support this theory is Ecclesiastes 9:5 "The dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten." Contrast that with Luke 23:43, when Jesus said to the theif on the cross "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in Paradise." What do you believe? Either way, we as Christians are promised a wonderful home in Heaven. Just when it occurs is only a minor theological point.