Difference Between Woodchuck and Beaver

Woodchuck vs Beaver

This article is an interesting comparison, as it will be regarding ground and aquatic beavers. They both are rodents with ever-growing upper front incisors, but with different adaptations to the environment that they inhabit mostly. This comparison between woodchuck and beaver discusses the adaptations for their aquatic and terrestrial lives and many other characteristics as well.


Woodchuck, Marmota monax, or groundhog is a terrestrial mammal of the Order: Rodentia and Family: Sciuridae. Its common names indicate two characteristics about them, woodchuck for gnawing and groundhog for terrestrial life. They range from Alaska through whole Canada towards Atlanta and other Central and Eastern States of US. Woodchucks are the largest sciurid of North America with a weight around 2 – 4 kilograms and have a body length measuring more than half a metre. They have short forelimbs with thick and curved claws, which are strong and useful to dig burrows those are their homes. They have proven their excellent ability to make burrows, as an average burrow could be about 14 metres long under 1.5 metres under the ground level. These tunnels are sometimes a threat to big buildings and agricultural lands. They are mostly herbivorous, but sometimes feed on insects and other small animals according to the availability. 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 provide them warmth during the colder season. Woodchucks are one of the species showing true hibernation during winter. They could live around six years in wild, but predator threats have taken the number down to two or three years. However, woodchucks live up to 14 years in captivity.


Beaver belongs to the Family: Castoridae of Order: Rodentia, and it is a large semi aquatic mammal. There are two extant species of beavers, Castor canadensis and C. fiber, North American and Eurasian beavers respectively. Their native ranges are in those areas as their common names indicate accordingly. Beavers are nocturnal and herbivorous. Beavers’ rodent teeth are useful for their food preferences, as they favour the flavours of wooden parts of plants. These interesting nocturnal animals are natural architectures, as they can build dams, canals, and lodges as their homes. Their rodent teeth are useful to cut trees and other plants to make their homes. Beavers have webbed hind feet and a flipper-like scaly tail as adaptations for swimming. They beat heir tail rapidly as an alarm to the other beavers when a predator is around. Beavers, like elephants, never stop growing, as they get older. They live up to 25 years and reach about 25 kilograms of weight by the time.

Difference between Woodchuck and Beaver

Woodchuck Beaver
An adult weighs about 2- 4 kilograms An adult weighs about 25 kilograms
Range in North America only One species ranges in Eurasia and the other one in North America
Basically herbivorous, but eats insects and other small animals Exclusively herbivorous
Diurnal or active in the daytime Nocturnal or active during night time
Make burrows as their homes Make dams, canals, and lodges as their homes
Strong and curved claws in forelimbs Not prominent claws as in woodchucks
Tails is short and useful for the temperate climate Tail is a flipper and useful for swimming and communication of alarms
No webbed feet Webbed hid feet for swimming
Short lifespan of 2 – 3 years Long lifespan of up to 25 years