Just like most of the members of the Oceanside rodent family, groundhog has a short-term pregnancy. The amount of time that they need when taking care of the baby groundhog is considerably longer than their pregnancy period. Compared to the other rodents that give birth to several litters per year groundhog will only have one litter per year.
The Mating Habit of Groundhogs
The adult California male woodchucks will emerge out of their burrows after their hibernation period. This may be on the latter part of the winter season or on the early part of spring. The length of their hibernation period will be basically determined by the size of their habitat. Woodchucks that are located on the southern part of the US will emerge at a later period. The female will emerge 10 days after the adult male. Once they come out of their burrows, they will then start the mating process. They will start by establishing their dominance and their territory.
The female will only have a single fertile period annually. Mating will occur during March. The more dominant Oceanside male will have a tendency to mate with different partners. After the mating process, both male and female species will no longer interact with each other.
In case of a successful copulation, the average California female groundhog will have a gestation period of around 30-33 days. While waiting for the baby's delivery, the female groundhog will build the nest inside her burrows. The nest will be build using plant fibers. The birth dens will be established in a well-drained soil. This can be in the pastures, borders of the woodlands, hedgerows. It also has multiple entry points that they can use to escape the threat of the predators.
The Size of the Litter
The mother groundhogs will give birth to 1-9 infants per litter. At least 4 of them will have the same size. The younger mothers will have a smaller size of litter. The newly born infant will weigh as much as 1oz. They will appear naked, pink, blind, and deaf. They are completely fragile during this stage and they rely on their mother for survival.
The California mother woodchucks will be the sole responsible for taking care of her young ones. During the first month, the baby woodchuck will be deaf and blind. As they began to grow, they will start exploring the nearby areas of their den. They will also show their digging prowess and will often spend a little more time outside of the burrow. They will also be capable of eating vegetations. The infant woodchuck will stay at least 44 days with their mother after their birth. Once they become fully matured, the mother will show aggressive behavior to the young ones to encourage them to leave the burrow. They will become independent after 2 months.
After 1-2 years, the Oceanside groundhog will reach their sexual maturity. By this time, they will be ready to establish their own colony and start the mating process all over again.