Woodchucks (also known as groundhogs) are among the few “true hibernators” found in Massachusetts. In late summer they begin to put on weight in preparation for the move to their winter dens, often located in wooded areas. From October through March, woodchucks settle in for a long snooze and turn their metabolisms waaaaay down to burn as little energy as possible. While hibernating, a woodchuck’s body temperature drops from 99°F to 40°F, and its heartbeat drops from 100 beats per minute to 4 beats per minute! Visit our Nature & Wildlife pages to learn more about woodchucks.
They may not be conscious to appreciate it, but here are five photos of woodchucks from our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest for you to enjoy.
Woodchuck © Alyssa Mattei
Woodchuck © David Zulch
Woodchuck © Diane Lomba
Woodchuck © Ronald Vaughan
Woodchuck © M Leach
Brace yourself. Serious cuteness incoming.
Seals are a “fan favorite” for wildlife lovers and coastal tourists due in large part to their often playful, expressive nature and adorable fuzziness. Year-round, visitors to the coastal parts of Massachusetts can spot our “resident” Harbor and Gray seals fairly easily. If you’re really lucky you may spy a rarer species such as Harp or Hooded seals although they tend to stay farther north near the pack ice they depend on for pupping. Interestingly, you will not find any sea lions here. Sea lions belong to a different taxonomic family than “true” seals and are not found on the east coast of the United States.
If you’re eager to spot one, many of our coastal wildlife sanctuaries host programs where you can look for and observe seals but here are five cute photos of seals for you to enjoy in the meantime, submitted to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. The 2018 photo contest is only open until September 30, so submit your great wildlife and nature photography today!
© Paulina Zuckerman
© Kim Barillot
© Terri Nickerson
© James Duffy
© Samantha Ferguson