Here, we’re interested in discussing woodchucks, focusing on their appearance.
Rodents consist of a wide range of creatures ranging from rats, mice, beavers, chinchillas, hamsters, capybaras, nutrias, murids, mus, muskrat, and woodchucks, among several others.
The woodchuck goes many names that including groundhog, earth pig, whistle pig, marmot, grass rat, land beaver, and moonrock, among several other colorful names.
A rodent with that many names should be quite interesting and popular. In this article, you’ll find details on woodchucks and their unique physical features.
Woodchucks are large rodents mostly found throughout the United States and Canada.
These are excellent swimmers and tree climbers who alert each other of danger through whistling. Woodchucks build extensive networks of underground burrows.
Quite a number of animals look like woodchucks, hence the need for proper identification by providing basic features.
Examples of animals mostly confused with woodchucks include prairie dogs, gophers, badgers, beavers, ground squirrels, hyrax, nutria, chipmunk, mole, marten, and voles.
Others include wombat and hedgehog. Now, several features stand the woodchuck out of the pack. These are easy identifiers that help avoid confusion.
The rest of the article highlights these unique features helping with faster identification.
What a Woodchuck Looks Like
Persons with little to no idea what a woodchuck looks like being able to follow basic guides that point to certain unique physical features. To start with, woodchucks are large, stocky rodents.
They’re known to have brown to grey colors and possess a fur-like skin type.
Woodchucks grow to maximum heights of 2 feet and have a length of 2 feet. They can be identified by their squirrel-like face with large black eyes. Their curious expressions make them cute.
These groundhogs have large claws that serve as burrowing tools. Their tails are wide and bushy.
A more distinguishing feature possessed by woodchucks is their weight. These large rodents weigh between 10 to 13 pounds.
They alert members of danger through whistling and are estimated to be around 200 million in population. Woodchucks are omnivorous creatures.
There are about 12 different species of these rodents. You’ll mostly find woodchucks in lowland habitats that include suburban gardens, forests, and woodlands.
Their predators include foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and badgers.
Woodchucks are known to be most active during the day.
They emerge from their burrows in the early morning hours and retire when the sun is hot, only to reemerge early in the evening before retiring for the night.
Food gathering and feeding is the primary reason why woodchucks leave their burrows.
Other activities that are vital to understanding what woodchucks are and look like include reproduction, hibernation, socialization, and burrowing. Let’s discuss each of these to get a better idea.
Early spring is the time of year when the mating season commences for these rodents. This is the time when they emerge from hibernation.
Between 2 to 4 kits are birthed and are weaned after two months. At this stage, juvenile woodchucks are considered independent.
As the winter season sets in, woodchucks get ready to hibernate.
This commences in October and lasts until early spring. Here, bodily processes are altered with temperatures dropping to 40 degrees F and accompanied by a slow heartbeat of around 5 per minute.
In the true sense of the word, the hibernation process means the only source of nutrition for these rodents is obtained from fat reserves.
Woodchucks aren’t social creatures and only seek company during mating season. However, their safety instincts kick in when danger is sensed.
Despite not being social creatures, woodchucks whistle to alert others of imminent danger. That way, they’re able to keep away from predators.
For woodchucks, burrowing is a natural survival instinct necessary for food storage.
Using their well-adapted claws, they dig through the ground and create multi-chamber burrows that serve different functions, including food hoarding.
There are sections for nesting as well as for hibernation.
Woodchucks can be Problematic.
A lot of times, there have been efforts aimed at stopping or limiting the destructive behavior of woodchucks. While some of these have proven effective, others haven’t.
Woodchucks cause a wide range of damage to gardens and ornamental vegetation. Another concern for property owners is their burrowing activity.
This negatively impacts landscapes. Apart from disruption to landscapes, the burrowing action of woodchucks can weaken foundations, especially when they burrow close to such foundations.
These are only considered problematic when noticed around human dwellings.
Identifying Woodchuck Presence
If you suspect woodchucks around your property, there are signs to look out for that may help confirm your suspicions.
Such signs include tracks with footprints that show five toes on the front foot and four on the back. These are accompanied by claw markings.
Another way to identify woodchuck presence is by looking for mounds of soil that are dug out when burrowing through the soil.
These are found heaped outside of tunnel entrances. You might also discover a weakened section(s) of your foundation. Burrows dug close by could lead to such weakening.
Woodchucks won’t hesitate to leave gnaw marks on tree branches, wood, and plantings.
These teeth mark measure between ¼ and ¾ inches wide. One of the most obvious signs of their presence is burrows scattered around lawns or other sections of your yard.
Call the Pros
Persons having a problematic or bad experience with woodchucks are better off seeking competent help.
Pest control services offer a wide range of pest solutions, including woodchuck removal. This is a better way to deal with the problem than implementing ineffective DIY removal techniques.
Now that you know what woodchucks look like, it’s important to state that people’s experiences with these rodents have not always been negative.
Their burrows have proven helpful in uncovering a historic village in central Ohio!
Identification is the primary step towards understanding what you’re dealing with. So far, we’ve provided some helpful details regarding what woodchucks look like.
With this information, you can take appropriate action towards addressing any related issues.