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A new bill could turn animal cruelty into a crime



Gophers and Groundhogs. Groundhogs and Gophers. Both are deceptively cuddly forest rodents scurrying through subterranean tunnels and biting plants. But if you're a nature freak, a football fan from Golden Gophers, or planning a trip to Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania, you may want to know the difference between Groundhogs and Gophers.

Despite their similar appearances and their digging habits, Groundhogs and Gophers do not have much in common – they do not even belong to the same family. For example, Gophers belong to the family Geomyidae, a group that includes Pocket Gophers (sometimes referred to as "real" Gophers), kangaroo rats and pocket mice.

Groundhogs are now members of Sciuridae (which means shadow). Tail) family and belong to the genus Marmota . Marmots are daily ground squirrels, says Daniel Blumstein, biologist and marmot expert at UCLA, opposite Mental Floss. "There are 1

5 types of groundhog, and marmots are one of them," he explains.

Apart from science, there are many other visible differences between the two animals. Gophers, for example, have hairless tails, protruding yellow or brownish teeth, and fur-studded back pockets for storing food – all features that distinguish them from marmots. The gopper's feet are often pink, while marmots have brown or black feet. And while the tiny gopher weighs about two kilos, marmots can grow up to 13 pounds.

While both rodents eat mainly vegetation, the gophers prefer roots and tubers (much to the desperation of gardeners trying to replant specimens), while marmots like vegetation and fruits. This means that the former animals rarely emerge from their burrows, while the latter are more frequently observed.

Groundhogs "have underground caves that they use for safety, and they hibernate in their burrows," says Blumstein. "They are active during the day, eating different plants and running back into their burrows to get to safety, when it is too hot, they go back to their burrows, when the weather gets bad, they return home their construction. "

That does not necessarily mean that the Gophers are more withdrawn, as the marmots are famous during the winter. Gophers, on the other hand, remain active throughout the year, destroying lawns.

"What is really interesting is when you go to a place where there are Gophers, what you see in spring are the so-called Esker" or winding mounds, "says Blumstein [PDF]." Basically dig they dodge through the earth all winter, but then they tunnel through the snow leaving dirt in these snow tunnels. "

If you now think about other forest dwellers in all these rodent talks, you know that groundhogs have many nicknames, including "whistle-pig" and "woodchuck," while the only nicknames for goppers appear to be bitter monikers, which were coined by Wisconsin Badgers fans.

This story first appeared in 2017. [19659002] A big question to answer to, if yes, send it to bigquestions@mentalfloss.com


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