Groundhog Biology; The woodchuck (Marmota monax), a member of the squirrel family, is also known as the “ground hog” or “whistle pig.” It is closely related to other species of North American marmots. It is usually grizzled brownish gray, but white (albino) and black (melanistic) individuals can occasionally be found. The woodchuck’s compact, chunky body is supported by short strong legs. Its forefeet have long, curved claws that are well adapted for digging burrows.
Both sexes are similar in appearance, but the male is slightly larger, weighing an average of 5 to 10 pounds (2.2 to 4.5 kg). The total length of the head and body averages 16 to 20 inches (40 to 51 cm). The tail is usually 4 to 7 inches (10 to 18 cm) long. Like other rodents, woodchucks have white or yellowish-white, chisel-like incisor teeth. Their eyes, ears, and nose are located toward the top of the head, which allows them to remain concealed in their burrows while they check for danger over the rim or edge. Although they are slow runners, woodchucks are alert and scurry quickly to their dens when they sense danger.
Nuisance Concerns: Due to its burrowing habits and choice of foods, the woodchuck can sometimes cause enough damage for it to be considered a pest or nuisance animal. Burrows will sometimes cause porches or small buildings to have structural integrity.
The foods preferred by this animal often get the woodchuck in trouble with its human neighbors. Damage to small trees and ornamental plants as well as destruction of food crops are often reported. Not every woodchuck that lives in close proximity with humans is a pest. Only when property is destroyed or crops ruined are control measures required.