PHOTO: Groundhog puppet smiles for the camera.

Botanical Bill & the Hunt for the Perfect Burrow

When last we saw Botanical Bill, our resident groundhog mascot, he was having a big adventure right before Groundhog Day. Since then, Botanical Bill has had a great summer—he spent it with his Marmota monax family in a burrow at the edge of McDonald Woods. 

Groundhogs (also called woodchucks) usually hibernate from October to March, but Botanical Bill is getting a late start this year, since the mild autumn weather lasted so long. Now he’s got the urge to hibernate—and to look for a winter burrow in which to enjoy a nice long nap.

Turns out it’s not so easy to find a place that’s just right…

PHOTO: Botanical Bill puppet at a large tree trunk.
This looked promising, but it’s just too big.


PHOTO: Botanical Bill at a small tree opening.
Nope, too small


PHOTO: Botanical Bill in a tree.
Too high


PHOTO: Botanical Bill looking over edge of a trunk.
Too open


PHOTO: Botanical Bill looking at a rotted trunk.
Too shallow


PHOTO: Botanical Bill in a tight spot.
Too tiiight!


PHOTO: Botanical Bill wedged in a tree cross section.
Botanical Bill’s idea of whistle pig heaven…


PHOTO: Botanical Bill looking into a tree trunk's hole.
Botanical Bill is reminded of the front door of his burrow…


PHOTO: Botanical Bill "yawning."
Yawwwnnnn…feeling ready to hibernate. Maybe he’ll just head back to the burrow.

Home, sweet home! C U Feb. 2!

©2013 Chicago Botanic Garden and

Published by

Julie McCaffrey

Julie McCaffrey is media relations manager at the Chicago Botanic Garden and is responsible for promoting the Garden's programs and events through traditional and social media. Julie holds a B.A. in English from Northern Illinois University and an M.S. in Communications from Northwestern University.