It’s ground hog day and although we don’t have ground hogs in Central Oregon – we do have rock chucks which are also known as yellow-bellied marmots named for the yellowish fur on their bellies.
They are members of the squirrel family, but don’t expect to see these stocky ground dwellers climbing any trees. Ranging in size from about 4 to 12 pounds with the males being larger than females, rock chucks stick close to their burrows, the entrance to which is hidden beneath or within a rocky outcropping for added protection from predators.
With healthy populations distributed throughout the western United States and Canada, rock chucks prefer moderately warm, dry habitats including grasslands, meadows, semi-deserts, and woodlands.
Punxsutawney Phil – the legendary groundhog weather watcher – woke up and saw his shadow this morning (2/2/23), calling for six more weeks of winter.
According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, Phil has been correct in his predictions about 40% of the time.
Here are Ground Hog’s Day Language Lessons from Warm Springs Culture & Heritage’s Language Program and KWSO.