Wyn’s First Groundhog’s Day Event
You may recall that a few days before last year’s Groundhog’s day we lost our educational woodchuck Willow. We were caught by surprise and extremely saddened by her passing. Baby Woodchucks are not commonly admitted to rehab centres, so we didn’t expect to find another suitable woodchuck to carry on the Groundhog’s day tradition. In May 2016, we were called to a fire station where a week and half old woodchuck was found on their driveway. After further questioning, we found out that the neighbor trapped an adult woodchuck and relocated her a few days earlier. Wyn was a true orphan. Weighing only a few hundred grams, she was bald, eyes not open, and very dehydrated. We continued to rehab Wyn with the hopes of admitted more young woodchucks to form her new family. Weeks followed, and Wyn’s eyes opened, no other woodchucks came in. Surprisingly, late June, a mother woodchuck and her 8 babies were admitted to our centre, but Wyn wasn’t accepted into their family. At that time, Wyn was adopted into our education team.
Tradition calls for whether Wyn will see her shadow for another six weeks of winter, or no shadow for an early spring. We at PWRC have decided to throw tradition out the door. Having had a previous educational woodchuck, and raising Wyn for 8 ½ months, we are going to predict the spring by carefully observing her behavior during the winter months. We believe that her behavior might be a better predictor of the weather than shadows. So we won’t be placing her by a window to see her shadow, but discuss if she has been very sleepy or awake these past few months.
So what does Wyn do during the winter? All wild Manitoba woodchucks are hibernating underground. Wyn does take naps, but continues to eat and be active. These past months, she has been sleeping her cares away, waking every day for a few minutes to eat and use the restroom before heading back into her den. Her daily diet includes vegetables , hay, and a small amount of fruit, with the occasional nut.
Due to her inactive behavior, we believe that it will another six weeks of winter.