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Difference Between Beaver and Woodchuck

People view beavers and woodchucks as rodents who destroy their backyard or lawn. But few know about the vast differences between the two.


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At an initial glance, they might seem the same but if you look closely the two are completely different based on their appearances and characteristics. Beavers and woodchucks belong to the same order of Rodentia.

The difference between the beavers and woodchucks is that beavers are aquatic creatures while woodchucks are terrestrial ones.

Beaver vs Woodchuck

The difference between Beaver and Woodchuck is their type as a mammal. A beaver is a genus mammal, whereas a woodchuck is a species of a mammal. Beaver is a larger rodent than off the woodchuck. Beavers are fast swimmers than woodchucks because of their bigger size. On the other hand, chucks like to be on the ground and trees more than swimming.

Beaver vs Woodchuck

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBeaversWoodchucks
Place of OriginThere are two different species of beaver. One of them predominates in Europe and parts of Asia while the other one mainly exists in North America.Woodchucks are exclusive to North America only. They are not found that much anywhere else.
WeightThe weight of beavers is much more than that of a woodchuck. An adult beaver weighs far more and is about 25 kilograms.Woodchucks are not as heavy as beavers. They weigh a lot less comparably.An adult is around 2 to 4 kilograms.
Eating habitsBeavers are completely herbivorous. They do not eat anything other than green leaves and roots.Woodchucks are sometimes insectivores too. They mainly consume greens but can eat tiny insects sometimes.
Time of activityBeavers are nocturnal animals. They are active during the night.Woodchucks are diurnal animals. They sleep during night time and pursue their activities throughout the day.

What is a Beaver?

A beaver is of the Rodentia order and typically has two subspecies. They mainly dominate over North America and Eurasia.

The beaver is quite an interesting animal. They are nocturnal as they finish most of their jobs during the night.

They are born architects. They can build brilliant dams and canals. 

As they are semi-aquatic animals, they have webbed feet and scaly tails. Also, their incisors which are like that of a rodent, help them in cutting materials required for building their homes.

Their tails have some other uses too as they use it as an alarm. The tail of the beavers can be used to communicate with others.

When they are exposed to danger, they slap their tails against the ground to warn others. Beavers have a unique characteristic.

As they grow in age, they grow in the body mass too! Ultimately they weigh almost 25 kilograms with age.

They also live a longer life. 


What is a Woodchuck?

A woodchuck (scientific name: Marmota monax) is also known as a groundhog. It gets its woodchuck name from the Canadian Algonquin tribe.

Originally belonging to the same order Rodentia as that of a beaver, it comes from a different family. But it is also in close relation to a squirrel

Mainly based in regions of Alaska and the Great White North- Canada, a woodchuck is found in the northern and north-eastern parts of the USA too. They have claws and dig burrows to live in.

They mainly gnaw on the different garden plants and are terrestrial animals. The holes dug by them can be annoying as they tend to damage buildings and skyscrapers. 

They choose to live off insects sometimes. You can find them in the temperate regions and are found to hibernate throughout the long harsh winter seasons.

They are also provided with secret hairs under their coats which keep them warm. They could have had a longer lifeline but they have many kinds of enemies and predators. 

We have observed that when such a woodchuck is kept away from predators, they tend to live longer for almost 6-7 years. 


Main Differences Between Beavers and Woodchucks

  1. Beavers and Woodchucks mainly differ in looks. While both of them have the same stout stocky build and are covered in brown fur, they have different characteristics. The tails of beavers are flat which helps them in swimming along with yellow incisor teeth. On the other hand, Woodchucks have a bushy tail for they are land animals. The incisors are also present here but they are white. 
  2. The feet of the two animals are different on many levels. Firstly, beavers are blessed with webbed feet like ducks which aid in their swimming. A beaver does not possess any claw-shaped feature in their feet. But, a woodchuck does not possess such kind of webbed feet. Instead, they have sharp claws for gnawing. 
  3. The main point of variation between a woodchuck and a beaver is that they have different behaviors. A woodchuck likes to stay in solitude. This is why they choose to move away from their families once they have grown up. But beavers are family-oriented! They live amidst colonies along with their kids. Also, they are animals that mate throughout life. 
  4. Woodchucks dig holes and burrows for their living while beaver construct canals and dams to live. 
  5. Beavers are aquatic animals. You can see them living near rivers or water bodies. But, a woodchuck prefers to stay on land. It is not like that they cannot swim- they just choose land and dry areas. 
  6. A beaver destroys to a great extent as they destroy trees by tearing wood and branches and build their dams. Also, these dams are not good for the water bodies as they pose an obstruction in the flow. Meanwhile, a woodchuck likes to dig holes everywhere. They destroy lawns and porches and also tend to eat all the garden plantations. 
  7. Beavers live for a long time as compared to woodchucks. Beavers can live up to 25 years while the lifespan of woodchucks is not so much. They live for two to three years at the most! 
Difference Between Beaver and Woodchuck


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