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  • Challenge Question #1
    Mon, 3 Feb 1997 16:32:59 -0500 (EST)

    When a woodchuck starts hibernation in the fall seems to depend, as I have
    been able to gather from watching the woodchucks on our property, on their
    age and body size as well as the number of heat producing hours in a day.
    The general rule of thumb appears to be that the biggest and the oldest
    start hibernating first. I would, therefore, assume that those who have been
    sleeping the longest would be the first to reappear in the spring.

    We have lived in the country now nearly six years. There was one woodchuck,
    nicknamed "Warthog", here when we moved into our new home. In the fall of
    1996, he disappeared very early -- either late September or early October --
    after he was already huge with lots of rolls of fat all over his back. The
    last couple of years he has appeared when there might even be still some
    vestiges of snow left here and there. But, he only stays out the first week
    or so for perhaps a couple of hours in the very warmest part of the

    While I realize that "Wart" has already lived much longer than most
    woodchucks do in the wild, I am hoping he reappears about the end of March
    this year. He has been wonderful to watch. We planted lots of clover in our
    yard for the critters and "Wart" has been a very good neighbor eating only
    the clover and never anything else in the garden. I cannot, however, say the
    same for his offspring of the last two years. Last year, "Chuck, Jr." ate
    every head of raddichio we had in the garden before we saw "Wart" chasing him
    out of the yard. I guess woodchucks must also be very territorial.

    I guess that's life in the country.