Originally created 01/31/05

Five questions with Vic VanSant



Vic VanSant is a state biologist and regional supervisor for game management with the Department of Natural Resources.

1. Groundhog Day is Wednesday. What exactly is a groundhog?

"They are rodents. They're from the same group as marmots. They're herbivores - eat vegetation. I think most of these critters spend their time out in the daytime eating."

2. Does Augusta have any groundhogs?

"Not really. They're native to the northern fringes of Georgia, near the North Carolina and Tennessee borders. You might see some as far south as Gainesville. Basically, they're found in the north Georgia mountains."

3. Can you eat them?

"Yeah. The young ones, according to another wildlife expert I know, are pretty good, much like beaver, muskrat, squirrel, other rodents. The older ones are supposed to be real tough. I've heard that groundhog hide was used to make boot laces a long time ago. It's tough, it doesn't stretch."

4. Where does the name come from?

"I guess from their habit of burrowing and living on the ground. Also, they're short and stocky. They've got other names: whistle pigs, woodchucks, chucks for short."

5. Any predictions for Wednesday?

"No predictions. You can look at the weather and decide what (the) options are."