Difference Between Groundhog and Woodchuck

Groundhogs and Woodchucks are two of the most famous names in the animal kingdom and people think that they are the same but surprisingly, they are not. Groundhogs are also known as Woodchucks belong to the squirrel family.


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The animal is found in North America and can be found in some parts of the United States across Canada and into Alaska. The scientific name of this animal is Marmota monax.

Now, you might have a question that why Groundhogs are also called Woodchucks. Well, this is because these small creatures got their name from an Alongonquin tribe from the Native America who called them ‘wuchak’.

Then soon after that, these creatures came to be known as ‘Woodchuck’ by some of the English people. These animals are experts in digging and can dig a tunnel up to 60 feet. They build these tunnels during winters so that they can hibernate and also to stay safe from other animals.

Key Takeaways

  1. Groundhog and woodchuck are two names for the same animal, Marmota monax.
  2. Groundhog is more commonly used in the eastern United States, while woodchuck is more commonly used in the Midwest and Canada.
  3. Despite their name, groundhogs/woodchucks are a type of ground squirrel known for their burrowing behavior.

Groundhog vs Woodchuck

The difference between Groundhog and Woodchuck is only their name because one name can be used for the other. These species belong to the same classification of animals and have got the same kind of appearance.

Groundhog vs Woodchuck

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonGroundhogWoodchuck
Original nameGroundhogWuchak
Scientific nameMarmota MonaxMarmota Monax
Lives InBurrowsBurrows
Breeding SeasonSpringSpring

What is Groundhog?

Groundhogs are a type of animal that falls under the squirrel family. These small creatures also look almost similar to a squirrel and they are confused sometimes by most people. Groundhogs’ scientific name is Marmota Monax and it is one of the 14 species in this category.

The creature’s highest order includes the Animalia Kingdom, Chordata phylum, and Mammalia class. Their diets consist of fruits, grass, agricultural crops in the fields, tree bark, and such things.

These small animals are found in North Americas and especially in the United States and Canada and Alaska.

These animals live in burrows and can dig up to 60 feet deep tunnel and within it, they can dig more tunnels. Obviously, because of their strong limbs and because of their thick claws they can dig with such energy.

Their body shape is somewhat curved because their spine is curvy and they have got 2 layers of coat on their body.

These small animals are hibernators and they hibernate throughout the winter season. Groundhogs eat throughout all seasons to store energy and fat in their body and during winters they go inside their burrows and spend their whole winter sleeping.


What is Woodchuck?

A woodchuck is nothing but another name for Groundhog so you can say that a groundhog and a woodchuck are the same things. These animals too behave similarly to what a groundhog will do throughout their life.

Woodchuck looks similar to squirrels and they fall under the same category of the family of groundhogs. Woodchucks got their name from an Algonquin tribe and their original name was ‘Wuchak’ but later the English people named them Woodchuck.

Woodchucks are not very dangerous animals but they can create a lot of fuss in the agricultural fields because they mostly feed on agricultural crops and fruits and tree barks. Their food diet also includes grasses, certain flowers cherries, and many others.

Woodchucks also build burrows for themselves and they hibernate during the winters. They are the prey of several animals like foxes, wolves, bears, owls, and many other animals. Their burrows have got several entry and exits that helps them to escape whenever they sense some kind of danger.


Main Difference Between Groundhog and Woodchuck

  1. A groundhog and a woodchuck are the same animals. The only difference between the two is their name.
  2. Groundhogs are known to be the best tree climbers and swimmers too.
  3. Both Groundhogs and Woodchucks belong to the same family, same classification, and have the same appearance too.
  4. Both Groundhogs and Woodchucks have the same diet.
  5. Both these small creatures are hibernators. They eat and collect food throughout all the seasons and hibernate during the winter.
  6. However, these animals stay awake during the spring season because it is the season of mating.
  1. https://jeb.biologists.org/content/218/2/194.short
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