Woodchuck (groundhog)

Woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, are plentiful and coexist with humans. They are often seen in yards and fields and are frequently seen in grassy areas along highways.


Woodchucks are true hibernators, often moving to winter dens in wooded areas. In late summer they begin to put on weight for winter. They can hibernate from November through March.  While hibernating, their body temperature drops from 99 degrees F to 40 degrees F and their heartbeat drops from 100 beats per minute to 4 beats per minute.


Woodchucks eat a variety of vegetation including grasses, clover, flowers as well as fruits and the bark of hickory and maple trees. They also eat insects.  


Woodchucks excavate extensive burrows that can be 2-6 feet deep and 40 feet long with different chambers. In her second year a female woodchuck gives birth to 4-6 kits. Their eyes open at four weeks and they are weaned at six weeks when they leave the burrow with their mother. In the fall the babies venture off  and become independent.