Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fattening Up








The groundhogs are out and about right now, getting fattened up for their winter hibernation. We have many around here. They are also called Whistle Pigs, because they emit a sharp high pitched alarm whistle. One whistled at Phil in the backyard last year. The one in the first picture spotted us and ran in his hole, then peeked out. There is one who lives under a shed next door. Many people shoot them, and my neighbor threatens to do so. Groundhogs are a species of marmot, and during hibernation, their body temperature goes from 99 degrees to 38 degrees, and they breathe only four times a minute. Hibernation is not a deep sleep, it is a state of dormant existence, almost like a small death. It remains a mystery to scientists how animals know when to hibernate and when to wake up. If blood is taken from a hibernating squirrel and put into an active squirrel in the spring, that squirrel will go into hibernation. This is because they have found a special hibernating substance in the blood, HIT (Hibernation Inducement Trigger). Even though he was being chased and feared for his life, King David slept peacefully. How could this be? Not hibernation. He cried out to God and God answered him.


"But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side." Psalm 3:3,6

31 comments:

Karin said...

Right about now I think hibernating for the winter would be an interesting idea! I've fattened up already, LOL!! It snowed a bundle today and winter is here for a few months at least!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Love your header, Mildred... The color contrasts are amazing...

We had a big fat groundhog (woodchuck) living in our backyard in one of the big tree roots out there... The first year we were here, he ate all of our plants and flowers... We finally decided that we needed to get rid of him... SO--we did some research, waited 'til he left his hole, and then plugged it up (with huge rocks). He did leave (thank goodness) --and we haven't had any trouble since.

Squirrels, chipmunks, deer and groundhogs ---WELL---they are all cute critters as long as they stay away from our plants and flowers!!!!! ha

Hugs,
Betsy

Ann said...

Can they be eaten?

Do you have a whole ward robe of shoes? My two girls, both size 9-10 shoes may like some of your hand me downs.LOl

gemini said...

Hello, I think I want to hibernate for a while...it would be good to sleep for a longer time...hahhaha....but not the fattening side of it.....Love your post...educational and interesting!

SquirrelQueen said...

Those are some healthy looking groundhogs, they should have almost enough fat stored up for the long winter. We have a species of marmot in WA but not in our area. Our variety of squirrels don't hibernate, I see them even when there is snow.

The sunbeam photos are about 80% pure luck. I can't always see the beam in the viewfinder but I know where it should be.

Fred Alton said...

That's very interesting about the blood containing the trigger that sends animals into hiberation. God surely made a wonderful world and takes care of all of us critters.

Neal said...

I love your header!!!

We had groundhogs at our previous place. They started destroying stuff and I finally had to get rid of them.

From the Kitchen said...

Interesting facts on hibernation that I did not know! I wonder if hibernating could be beneficial to humans? I am now going back to look at your header--again and again and again! The trees are beautiful together.

Best,
Bonnie

sarah said...

he's soooo soooo cute...I want a groundhog!!!

Mary said...

I never knew they could whistle and I certainly never heard about the hibernating substance in their blood. I know I love to visit here and hear what you have to say. You always keep me interested. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

Sandra said...

I know a few people who must have gotten blood transfusions from the hibernating squirrels. ha ha I did not know squirrels hibernate. ours sure dont' and we have threatend to shoot them to, but have not SO FAR. these little guys are beyond cute and I know they are pest just like our squirrels. I like your little whistle guys better than my squirrels they are higher on the Cute Scale

LC said...

Thanks for more wonderful fall color. No groundhogs around us, but we used to see them popping up all over Cades Cove when we visited the Smokies. Evidently coyotes or disease decreased their population, according to the park personnel we questioned. Useful verse! Thanks

Ruth said...

Interesting facts about hibernation.I do think often of that verse in the Psalms about lying down and sleeping in peace.God gives such sweet peace.
Blessings,Ruth

Beverly said...

Oh my, they are cute, but I'm sure they are pests, aren't they.

I had a guinea pig in my classroom who was quite the whistler. I would bring him home on the weekends and when Don came in the house, he was start whistling like there was no tomorrow.

One day, I asked him (Don) to come by my classroom and hang some stuff from the ceiling for me. I told me aide to listen to the guinea pig when Don opened the door. As soon as he popped in, the whistling started. What fun he was.

DawnTreader said...

We don't have groundhogs here. But we do have other animals that go into winter hibernation. I have often wished I could do the same ;)

Bobbi said...

Wow, I learned something new today! Ginny, I am always so blessed by your posts. It is so obvious - God's message for us - through your words. Thanks for letting your light shine!!

Stephanie V said...

It would be very odd indeed to have someone (thing?) whistling at me while I garden.

These guys are so cute!

Remington said...

What a cutie!

Rose said...

i've never seen a groundhog. they look very fattened. doesn't seem like a bad thing to hibernate. rose

S. Etole said...

They can nibble the flowers off so quickly ... always enjoy your tidbits of information1

Rachel Cotterill said...

They're so cute! :) I often wished I could hibernate... but as I grow up, I come to appreciate the different seasons more and more.

wildlifewatcher said...

Hi Ginny, I just love Groundhogs or Woodchucks as they also are sometimes called! Great pictures! Have a fabulous day tomorrow!

Kilauea Poetry said...

"If blood is taken from a hibernating squirrel and put into an active squirrel ..because a special hibernating substance in the blood" boy, try to wrap your brain around that! Amazing..and the breath!
I remember getting traumatized watching maybe N.G. wild something? with my dad..usually he was good at protecting us from stuff, but..it was ground hogs getting shot (culling). I was so blown away. I just think of them in a fuzzy way like squirrels?
Anyway- nice verse you wove in too!

hip-chick said...

I think that they are very cute but I know that they cause a lot of damage.

Ruthi said...

Hello Ginny,

Firstly, I would like to thank you for visiting and commenting on my blogs religiously. I really appreciate it. I'm that I don't have the time to visit you as often as I used to. I will surely make it up to you once I get the chance.

Hmmmm, Chuckie seemed to be enjoying the chow. Nice shots.

George said...

Groundhogs are not our favorite creature. We found out the hard way that they like to munch on roses! If we find any around our house, we'll be glad to send them up your way. But I really like your photos.

WhatKarenSees said...

Cute shots of this little fellow. We don't start thinking about groundhogs until February 2, my husband's birthday.

kanak7 said...

I didn't know all these hibernation facts. Found it very interesting.

Your header is very beautiful. In fact, all of them are!

Chatty Crone said...

I didn't know all the facts - but it was a very interesting comparison.

You know some times all I want to do is touch the cloak of Jesus and I think everything would be all right.

You ever think like that?

sandie

srp said...

Looks like a cross between a beaver and a ferret!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

We don't see groundhogs here so when I saw them in Colorado and other parts of the West I got so excited! I do like how they "whistle'!