stand between 16 to 20 inches tall. They have about a
6 inch tale. Most of their coat of fur is a coarse mixture
of rusty brown, black and white hairs. However, its stomach
and chest fur is soft to protect it against the cold
winter while it hibernates. They have a rounded face,
tiny ear openings, and short legs.
Woodchucks are rodents. As with all rodents,
they have two well developed front teeth. These teeth keep
growing through its life. They have 20 other teeth, but it
is the two front teeth that keep growing. Woodchucks use
their teeth for burrowing into the ground and for eating.
can weigh between 4 to 11 pounds. Their weight increases
throughout the summer as they prepare for hibernation.
a male woodchuck awakes from hibernation sometime in
March, he finds a female. They mate in her burrow. In
about one month, 2-6 babies are born. They are blind
and without fur. They feed from the female's milk for
about two months. After that, they are on their own.
Woodchucks spend 5 months hibernating. They prepare a special "bedroom" with
grasses and leaves for the long winter. While hibernating,
their body temperatures can drop to 39 degrees. They awake
at different times to get rid of body wastes. Punxsutawney
Phil and Groundhog Day on February 2 is a legend.
Woodchucks actually hibernate several weeks longer.
make their burrows in woodlands, farmers'
fields, at the forest edge, or in small rocky hillsides.
Sometimes, they live under sheds near people's homes.
To avoid danger, they sit up to look out over the land.
dig holes and tunnels called burrows. They can dig tunnels
25 feet long and 5 feet deep. They have several entrances
and exits from their burrows.
protect itself from predators, woodchucks
create fake entrances. They dig up the soil around the
fake entrance and make it look like the real entrance
to their burrow. Meanwhile, they dig their main entrance
from underneath the ground. They do not stray too far
from their burrows. Sometimes they can be seen enjoying
the sunshine next to their burrows.
Although considered a pest by farmers, woodchucks help the
environment. Their body wastes help to fertilize the soil.
Burrows help to bring air into the soil. When no longer used
by the woodchuck, their burrows provide a home for other
A woodchuck's diet is simple. They are herbivores,
or plant eaters. Woodchucks eat large amounts of farmers'
green crops, such as alfalfa and clover. For this reason,
they are not a friend of farmers. Farmers will hunt and shoot
them in the spring. Woodchucks also eat garden crops if their
burrows are near home gardens.