February 1, 2005 - February 2nd is Groundhog Day and The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) is asking people to look past using cute groundhogs to "forecast" the arrival of spring and use this popular day to learn more about this fascinating and beneficial animal.


"Regrettably, while many consider groundhogs cute and intelligent little animals one day out of the year, others regard them as pests to be killed the other 364 days of the year. We know that understanding more about wildlife brings about respect for animals and nature," says HSC Western Regional Director, Al Hickey.

"While the media gives considerable public attention to Groundhog Day, we believe that many people would like to know more about these wonderful little creatures," says Michael O'Sullivan, the charity's Executive Director.

The following are a few interesting facts about groundhogs:

  • also commonly called woodchucks and marmots
  • weigh between 5 and 14 pounds
  • live in pastures, meadows, fields and open woods throughout much of southern Canada
  • are active by day
  • eat a variety of vegetation including grasses and clover
  • burrows provide homes for other animals
  • fertilize the earth and loosen and aerate the soil
  • if attacked groundhogs try to reach their burrows but will fight if cornered or confronted
  • burrows are 5 to 30 feet in length, with branching tunnels, and 2 to 3 feet below the surface of the ground
  • 2 to 6 young are born in April or May

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

The only organization of its kind, seven days a week, The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works across the street, across Canada and around the world helping people, animals and the environment.

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our educational campaigns that protect animals and the environment please make a donation here. Because when it comes to fighting cruelty and violence, we don’t give up. Ever.