Woodchuck—Marmota monax - aka Groundhog

Woodchucks are rodents. They are herbivores who feed primarily on vegetables, trees, grasses and legumes; a single woodchuck can quickly destroy an entire garden. They also gnaw the bark of fruit trees and ornamental shrubs, sometimes killing them. The mounds of dirt from excavated burrows, and holes at the entrance of burrows, are unsightly and can be hazardous to humans. Woodchucks are also hosts for the woodchuck tick (Ixodes cookei), which can carry the Powassan virus.

woodchuck in tree
Woodchucks grow 16-27 inches long, 4-14 pounds. They have short, powerful legs and a medium-long, bushy and somewhat flattened tail. The long, coarse fur on the back is a grizzled, grayish brown with a yellowish or reddish cast.

woodchuck in lawn
The feet are dark brown with heavy claws which they use for digging extensive burrows. Woodchucks are excellent climbers and may be seen in trees escaping predators or surveying their surroundings.

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[Photos. left to right: Clemson University; Gilles Gonthier]