Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
Search the Archive

  Rodentia · Sciuridae · Marmota monax
   Smithsonian Institution
   Copyright Notice
   Privacy Notice
Marmota monax


Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae

Image of Marmota monax
Marmota monax - reddish cinnamon variant (Canada, Alaska) on right
Click to enlarge. (106 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Also known as the Groundhog or the Whistle-pig, the Woodchuck thrives in forest borders through much of the eastern United States, across Canada, and into Alaska. Socially, Woodchucks live singly from the time they are weaned at six weeks of age. They are diurnal vegetarians, consuming clover, dandelion, chickweed, alfalfa, sorrel, beans, peas, grains, grasses, and other plants. In their burrows, they sleep through the night, raise their young, and spend the winter in hibernation. When it is hibernating, the Woodchuck's body temperature drops almost to the air temperature in its den and its heartbeat slows from 75 beats per minute to about 4. Curled into a tight ball, with its head between its front legs, it seems to be dead.

Also known as:
Ground Hog, Whistle-pig

Sexual Dimorphism:
Males are 3% heavier than females.

Range: 415-675 mm

Range: 3-4 kg


Linnaeus, C., 1758.  Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classis, ordines, genera, species cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, p. 60.  Tenth Edition, Vol. 1. Laurentii Salvii, Stockholm, 1:1-824.


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Marmota monax

Image of Marmota monax
Marmota monax (Woodchuck), MidAtlantic
Click to enlarge. (249kb)

Image of Marmota monax
Click to enlarge. (115kb)

Skull of Marmota monax
Click to enlarge. (26kb)