Q:

What is the difference between a groundhog, a gopher and a woodchuck?

A:

Quick Answer

According to WildlifeDamageControl.net, the terms gopher, whistle pig, groundhog and woodchuck all refer to the same species, Marmota monax. Woodchucks are stocky, four-legged animals that may weigh up to 10 pounds. Woodchucks have a reputation for being troublesome pests that are hard to eradicate. They consume foods grown by farmers and gardeners, while their burrowing habits can undermine homes, decks and porches.

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What is the difference between a groundhog, a gopher and a woodchuck?
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Full Answer

While many people use the term gopher to describe woodchucks, some people refer to the 35 species of rodents of the family Geomyidae as pocket gophers. Pocket gophers live a subterranean lifestyle as woodchucks do, according to the University of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Web, but they are smaller than woodchucks are. Large pocket gopher species may reach 2 to 3 pounds in weight. Pocket gophers derive their name from the pockets inside their cheeks, which the tunneling rodents use to carry food.

According to Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center, woodchucks primarily subsist on a diet of grasses, fruits and berries, but they will also eat grubs, insects, snails and other small animals. While these animals only live to about 6 years of age in the wild, captive woodchucks have been known to live up to 22 years.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What sound does a groundhog make?

    A:

    Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, hiss, growl, bark, shriek and chatter their teeth loudly. Most of their vocalizations are used for communicating with other woodchucks. Groundhogs live in highly social societies, and individuals use their vocalizations to mark their territories, warn each other of predators and conduct other social rituals.

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  • Q:

    To what family of animals does a groundhog belong?

    A:

    The groundhog belongs to the family Sciuridae and is also known as a woodchuck. Family Sciuridae includes squirrel-like creatures such as the prairie dog and tree squirrel. This family is mostly herbivorous, and its members munch on seeds, fruits and nuts.

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  • Q:

    What time does the groundhog come out?

    A:

    There is no specific time as to when a groundhog will come out from hibernation. However, it is known that these creatures, also known as woodchucks, sleep until spring.

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  • Q:

    How do I identify groundhog burrows?

    A:

    Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, construct two different types of burrows: one for use in the summer and one for use in the winter. Summer burrows feature multiple openings that are about 10 to 12 inches in diameter and situated about 20 feet away from each other. Summer burrows are often more conspicuous than winter burrows, which have only one opening and are usually located in areas with dense cover.

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