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Difference Between Groundhog and Woodchuck

Groundhog vs Woodchuck
 

Exploring the differences between groundhog and woodchuck would be one of the most impossible tasks, as both the names refer only one animal. In other words, it could be described as only one scientifically described species with two commonly referred names. However, these common names reveal some important characteristics of this animal. Their behaviours and underlying causes for those interesting habits are explained in this article, and it would be informative to follow the presented information.

Groundhog and Woodchuck

Groundhog, Marmota monax, also known as woodchuck, is a terrestrial mammal described under the Order: Rodentia and Family: Sciuridae. They naturally range from Alaska through whole Canada towards Atlanta and other Central and Eastern States of the United States. They are a very important group of animals, being the largest sciurid member of North America with body weights ranging between two and four kilograms. Their body size is very conspicuous, with a length measuring more than half a metre. Groundhogs have a pair of short forelimbs, which are distinctive with thick and curved claws. Those claws are strong and useful to dig burrows to make themselves homes. The common name groundhog has been used to refer them because of their ground living behaviour. In fact, they have proven their excellent ability to make burrows with an average digging speed of more than 14 metres long at 1.5 metres under the ground level. These tunnels sometimes pose a great threat to large-scale buildings and agricultural lands; hence, the possibility of an economic damage would be high due to a habitation of groundhogs.

Woodchucks are primarily herbivorous but sometimes feed on insects and other small animals according to the availability of food. Woodchucks being rodents, they have a pair of ever-growing upper incisor teeth; thus, the gnawing behaviour is prominent. Because of their prevailing gnawing behaviour, the common name woodchuck has been used to refer them. Their short tail is believed to be an advantage for their lifestyle in the temperate climates. Their undercoat and outer coat with banded guard hairs facilitate them to keep the warmth they needed during the colder season, especially in winter. Woodchucks are one of the species that are showing the true hibernation among many animal species during winter. They could live around six years in wild, but predator threats and illegal shooting have taken their lifespan down to two or three years. However, woodchucks live up to 14 years in captivity with the allocated staff to care for them with food and veterinary requirements.

Groundhog vs Woodchuck

Since both these names have been used to refer only one animal species, there cannot be any different with regard to characteristics. However, it would be important to draw attention to consider the meaning of the two common names, namely groundhog and woodchuck, depict their two of the prevailing behaviours borrowing and gnawing respectively.


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