if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he could
if a woodchuck could chuck wood!
Wow, that well-known tongue twister is enough to make your mouth feel dry. Nothing that a tall glass of iced water can’t fix!
Water is life and most animals feel the same, usually converging in areas where water is readily accessible. You would be surprised that apart from the ubiquitous association with predicting the beginning of spring, groundhogs are known to not drink water at all.
If you’re curious if this is true, read on as Floofmania gets to the bottom of this astonishing claim.
Do Groundhogs Drink Water?
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If drinking is defined as lapping up water enthusiastically like a dog, then usually, no. It’s not common to see groundhogs scurrying up to a stream and drinking their fill.
This doesn’t mean groundhogs, also called woodchucks, don’t need water. Like most animals, they need water to survive. The way groundhogs stay hydrated through different means.
Some of these are:
- Licking dew or rainwater off plant leaves.
- Wet surfaces like rocks, tree trunks, or decks and tiles.
- Puddles, fountains, streams, ponds, and other clean sources of fresh water
- Eating snow and ice.
- Juices and water in the food that they eat.
There is anecdotal evidence of groundhogs drinking water from an outdoor container. But this is not what they usually do.
Groundhogs Get Hydrated Through Their Food
A garden full of juicy, plump vegetables is a paradise for a groundhog. It both satisfies its hunger and thirst. Eating things like watermelons, cucumbers, tomatoes, or other vegetables with high water content, would be ideal.
In warmer weather groundhogs eat more produce, extracting all the fiber and juices. They also lick the morning dew on the grass or get hydrated when their food is wet with rain.
Don’t Groundhogs Ever Need To Drink?
If they have access to ripe and juicy produce, groundhogs seem to be alright without separately imbibing water. Groundhogs are predominantly herbivores and would eat a variety of plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, and the water content in them is usually enough to keep them hydrated.
While they prefer a mostly plant-based diet, groundhogs also eat snails, grubs, and other insects.
There have been reports of groundhogs eating small baby birds, but this is really not common. Perhaps they don’t get as much moisture there and when they feel thirsty, they do take a sip of water.
Can Groundhogs Drink Other Liquids?
There are some people who don’t like the tastelessness of water and prefer more palatable beverages. How about groundhogs? Do they drink more of something else than they do water?
Baby groundhogs drink milk in the first six weeks of their lives. Called pups, kits, or chucklings, they are born with their eyes closed until they are about a month old, fully dependent on their mother.
After being weaned and having a bite of tasty veggies and grass brought by mama groundhog to the burrow, they stop drinking milk.
Beer or Alcohol
There is a plethora of beers and ciders named after groundhogs but will groundhogs drink beer? Probably not.
There is an article in National Geographic exploring the effect of drinking alcohol on various animals. This is more about consuming fermented fruit and grain rather than indulging in a glass of champagne.
It turns out that if an animal has fruits and nectar as a regular part of its diet, beer or alcohol may be well tolerated. If a groundhog drinks beer it will probably be ok.
Fortunately, groundhogs aren’t tempted to drink soda the way humans are. Aside from tasting good and refreshing on a hot day, it has little to boast about in terms of nutrition and hydration.
Soda beverages have little to no benefit to people and do not do any favors to groundhogs as well. An independent study in 2012 states that the brown coloring in colas causes cancer in animals.
Despite appearing healthier than alcohol or soda, fruit or vegetable juices are also full of concentrated sugar and not much else. Groundhogs will be better off eating their fruit and not drinking it.
This is especially true when they eat in preparation for hibernation. They need to eat nutrient-rich foods to build their fat reserves for the winter. In this process, including juice drinks would be pointless.
Author: Mitzie C
Mitzie is a writer and animal welfare advocate. Her writing is inspired by her love for her rescue cats, Eddy and Dylan, and her rescue dogs, Cypher, Daegu and Holly. Follow her journey as she discovers her unique voice here in Floofmania and shares her insights on the importance of the animal kingdom.