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Happy Marmota monax Day

February 1, 2018
groundhog eating flowersPhoto from Iftekhar Naim '15 (PhD).

Happy Marmota monax Day! Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, have entrenched themselves in the environment and culture of the University. But they are, of course, still wild animals and—for everyone’s safety—should not be approached or fed.

To mark Groundhog Day this year, here are three things you might not know about our furry cohabitants at Rochester:

  1. “They love to eat the annuals we plant,” says John McIntyre, trades supervisor and area manager for University Horticulture and Grounds. “We deliberately try to plant flowers we think they won’t nibble on. Through trial and error, the staff have discovered what they do and don’t like.But because they’ll sup on almost any vegetation, McIntyre and his team wait until the night before (or even the morning of) commencement to put the decorative potted plants out around the Eastman Quad.
  2. You can find groundhogs virtually all over the University grounds—on the various quads, in the baseball and football fields, at Witmer House on the Mt. Hope Campus.“They tend to burrow into the steps of buildings. We then fill the holes only to find they’ve been dug out again within a few hours,” McIntyre says. “The only place they don’t seem to like is the Medical Center, probably because they can’t easily cross Elmwood.”
  3. The groundhog is the unofficial mascot of the Sage Art Center.

 

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