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USM expert informs The Verge on Rep. Paul Ryan’s tale of car-chewing groundhog

Professor Christine Maher told the popular website The Verge that she’s never seen groundhogs chew up cars.

But that doesn’t mean they didn’t chew up a Chevy Suburban owned by U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, she said.

Ryan told a DC crowd recently that groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, destroyed his SUV last winter while it sat outside his mother’s home in Wisconsin.

The online news site called several experts.

“The Verge is asking the tough questions: did woodchucks specifically target Paul Ryan? Or do woodchucks typically chuck cars?” Reporter Rachel Becker wrote.

Maher, who has studied groundhogs for years, told Becker that they usually spend the winter burrowed in the ground beneath the frost line.

For them to hibernate in a car “would just be burning through more fat trying to keep their bodies from freezing,” Maher told Becker.

The USM professor of biology professor said she wants to see the evidence because mice or chipmunks could also have gnawed through the wiring of Ryan’s Chevy.

“It would have been nice to see how they decided it was woodchucks that had done it,” Maher said.

Read the fully story at The Verge.