Woodchuck, the common name of an American rodent (arctomys monax, Gmel.), the generic characters of which have been given under Marmot. It is 15 to 18 in. long, the color varying from blackish to grizzled above, and chestnut red below; the feet are always dark, and the tail blackish, sometimes with grayish rings. The form is thick and clumsy, neck hardly apparent, head broad and flat, legs short and thick, and tail short and bushy; the nose is wide, lips full and fleshy, eyes small, and ears short; feet large, and naked below; hair rather soft, and whiskers long and stout; there are rudimentary cheek pouches; stomach simple, and csecum large; there are glands just within the rectum, which secrete a slightly offensive substance. It is found from Hudson bay to South Carolina, and west to the neighborhood of the Rocky mountains. From its voracity and burrowing habits it is often called the ground hog; it digs deep holes in the fields, on sides of hills, or under rocks in the woods, in a slanting direction, at first upward to keep out the water, with several compartments, and usually with more than one entrance; it passes the winter in the burrow, in a lethargic state.
The food consists of various plants, fruits, and vegetables; they are especially fond of red clover; they frequently make their incursions at midday, posting sentinels; they are very vigilant, and their sense of hearing is remarkably acute; they are very cleanly, and are easily tamed; they have five or six young at a birth; they fight boldly, and are more than a match for a dog of equal size. The flesh is rank, but is sometimes eaten.
Woodchuck (Arctomys monax).