Ground Hog Day
A ground hog is a small animal that digs and lives under the ground. It is also called the woodchuck.
Ground hogs live in many parts of America. In the winter they hibernate like bears and some other animals.
There is a legend that says a few hundred years ago Europeans brought Ground Hog Day to America. They said that the ground hog wakes up from his hibernation on February 2. (February 2 is half way between winter and spring.) If he comes up from his hole and it is sunny, he will see his shadow and be frightened. If he sees his shadow, there will be 6 more weeks of winter weather. But if he comes up and the sky is cloudy, he will not see his shadow and will not be frightened. Then spring weather will come very soon.
Some people believe this legend and they watch the sky on February 2. Many people are happy if it is cloudy on that day. They think spring will come soon. But most people think it is just a fun legend. What do you think?
to hibernate (verb)- to sleep through the winter
hibernation (noun)- comes from hibernate (long sleep through the winter)
legend– old story that is told from parents to children, and children’s children, and so on for many many years
shadow– darkness made where the light can’t go through (when the sun shines you can see the dark outline of your body on the ground)
When not hibernating or caring for young, woodchucks spend much of their time eating and sunning.
They love to stretch out on warm ground, a smooth rock or along a low branch of a convenient tree. Their tree climbing ability is limited, however, and infrequently used.
Woodchucks prefer to eat fresh green vegetation. They eat a wide variety of wild plants, clover and alfalfa, and garden vegetables if they can get them. On rare occasions, they eat snails, insects, or young birds that they come upon by accident. Early in spring they eat bark and small branches.
Test your knowledge
- Another name for a groundhog is___.
a. a woodchuck
b. a squirrel
c. a fox
- Groundhog Day is February___.
- The groundhog pops up out of its___.
- The groundhog is looking for its___.
a. mother b. friend c. shadow
- If the sun is shining, it will___ its hole.
a. go back into
b. stay out of
c. run around
- If it doesn’t see its shadow, ___.
a. there will be six more weeks of cold weather
b. spring will come early this year
c. it will rain for the next two weeks
- The groundhog lives in___.
a. the ground b. a tree c. a river
- The groundhog spends all___ in its hole.
- People are looking___ to spring.
- This kind of belief is called a___.
c. true story
Robert Louis Stevenson
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow–
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes goes so little that there’s none of him at all.
He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close behind me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
from Repeat after us