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(Redirected from Woodchuck)
This article is about the mammal. The name Woodchuck is also used for a Woodpecker.
Woodchuck or Groundhog
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Groundhog standing

Scientific classification
Species:M. monax
Binomial name
Marmota monax
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The Groundhog (Marmota monax), also called a Woodchuck or Whistle Pig, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. Most marmots live in rocky and mountainous areas, but the Woodchuck is a creature of the lowlands. It is widely distributed in North America, from Alaska to Alabama and Georgia. In the western United States it is found only in Alaska and northern Washington.

Groundhogs are typically 40–65cm long (including a 15-cm tail) and weigh 2–4 kilograms. They can live up to six years in the wild, and ten years in captivity.

The Groundhog is one of a small number of species that have grown greatly in numbers since the arrival of European settlers in North America, since the clearing of forests provided it with much suitable habitat. It prefers open country and the edges of woodland. As a consequence, it is a familiar animal to many people in the United States and Canada. As groundhogs enjoy open spaces, they can be seen by humans the most around freeways, especially near large interchanges which are usually not heavily wooded and populated with humans.

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This Groundhog gets an unexpected visit from a Labrador Retriever dog near a freeway interchange.

Groundhogs are excellent burrowers, and they use burrows for sleeping, rearing young, and hibernation.

In the United States and Canada, there is a Groundhog Day celebration that gives the Groundhog some added popularity.

The name woodchuck has nothing etymologically to do with wood. It stems from an Algonquian name for the animal (possibly Narraganset), wuchak. This confusion led to the common tongue-twister, "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? — As much wood as a woodchuck would chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood."

The Wall Street Journal quotes wildlife expert Richard Thomas as calculating that the average Groundhog moves approximately 35 cubic feet (1 m³), or 700 pounds (320 kg), of dirt when digging a burrow.

Usually Groundhogs breed in their second year, but a small percentage may breed as a yearling. The breeding season extends from early March to middle or late April following hibernation. A mated pair will remain in the same den through the 28- to 32-day gestation period. As birth of the young approaches in April or May, the male will leave the den. One litter is produced annually, usually containing two to six blind, naked and helpless young. Young Groundhogs are weaned and ready to seek their own dens at five to six weeks of age.

External links

Other meanings

  • The woodchuck is also the arch-nemesis of The Internet Oracle
  • Another name for Woodpecker
  • A "groundhog" is also a one page summary or review of an idea, proposal or larger document usually used in businessŚwiszcz



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