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North American Animals - mamals, birds, reptiles, insects

 Woodchuck (Marmota monax)




Woodchuck | Marmota monax photo
Woodchuck. Lower Saint Lawrence, Quebec, Canada

Photograph by Gilles Gonthier. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

WOODCHUCK FACTS

Description
Woodchucks are stoutly built with short powerful legs. Males are slightly larger than females. The tail is dark and bushy and only one quarter of the total body length. They have dense woolly fur on the back and sides, with longer guard hair with dark and light bands and white tips, giving the Woodchuck a frosted appearance. The ears are small and rounded and eyes are small and black. The feet are black and slightly flattened with curved claws designed for digging.

Size
Weight: 3kg - 5kg. Length 41cm - 68cm

Environment
farmland, grassy pastures, forest edges, woodland clearings

Food
Woodchucks eat leaves, flowers and seeds from a variety of herbaceous plants and grasses. They also eat fruit, grain and sometimes insects. Around farmland they eat alfalfa, clover, corn, oats, fruit and vegetables.

Breeding
Two to seven young are born in underground burrow after a gestation period of about 30 days. The young are pink, naked and blind at birth. Weaning is after about 6 weeks. Woodchucks live about 6 years in the wild and ten years in captivity.

Range
The Woodchuck is found from central Alaska and across southern Canada to the Pacific coastal provinces, and throughout the eastern half of the United States south to Alabama and Arkansas, and west to the edge of the plains.

Notes
When alarmed, woodchucks give a loud whistle. They also bark and squeal when fighting.

Classification
Class:Mammalia
Order:Rodentia
Family:Sciuridae
Genus:Marmota
Species:monax
Common Name:Woodchuck


Relatives in same Genus
  Hoary Marmot (M. caligata)
  Yellow-bellied Marmot (M. flaviventris)
  Olympic Marmot (M. olympus)