From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
|Woodchuck or Groundhog|
|Marmota monax (Linnaeus, 1758)|
The Groundhog, Woodchuck, or Whistle Pig, Marmota monax, 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, though it is not found in the western United States (apart from Alaska and northern Washington).
Woodchucks are typically 40-65cm long (including a 15-cm tail) and weigh 2-4 kilograms.
The Woodchuck 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.
Woodchucks are excellent burrowers, and they use burrows for sleeping, rearing young, and hibernation.
In the United States, there is a Groundhog Day celebration that gives the Woodchuck some added popularity.
The Wall Street Journal quotes wildlife expert Richard Thomas as calculating that the average Woodchuck moves approximately 35 cubic feet (1 m³), or 700 pounds (320 kg), of dirt when digging a burrow. Therefore the amount of wood a Woodchuck could chuck if a Woodchuck could chuck wood is 700lbs divided by the number of hours required for said Woodchuck to excavate a burrow.
The woodchuck is also the arch-nemesis of The Internet Oracle