I haven’t seen a groundhog in our neighborhood, Glennwood Estates, Decatur, Georgia, but we do have our share of chipmunks. So I thought why not a rodent stand-in today. No shadow this morning so we are in for an early spring. This was confirmed by Georgia’s official groundhog winter forecaster, Beau, down in Jackson GA at the Dauset Trails Nature Center. (Budding flowers and singing birds looking for mates are pretty good signs too.)
Eastern chipmunks are hibernators. For the most part. What triggers them to go into their dens, how long they stay, how deep their torpor is, how long it lasts or are there periods of being awake, and when they leave their dens in spring all seem to be variable by chipmunk and for some individuals even year-to-year. So it is reasonable to see them out and about on nice winter days. Or, not. And, as our average winter temperatures rise above ‘normal’, as it’s been this winter so far, will they continue to hibernate at all and, if not, does that effect their populations. They certainly seem to be more populous in our yard.