What are woodchucks? — Alysin’s student essay

What Are Woodchucks?

What are these Holes?

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Woodchucks don’t chuck wood but do chuck dirt that would be equivalent to seven hundred pounds of wood. Woodchucks are very interesting and complicated creatures. Often they may be referred to as groundhogs or whistle pigs. Generally, they are brownish grey with chunky bodies. You may only know groundhogs because of groundhog day which is on February second. This is when a groundhog comes out from its burrow. 

If the groundhog sees his shadow there will be another six weeks of winter and if he does not there will be an early spring. Even though we as Americans use woodchucks to predict the future of the weather they have many other qualities like their appearance and what they eat.

Woodchucks have many different features. Adult Woodchucks can range in size from 16 to 22 inches.They can also weigh about five to thirteen pounds. Woodchucks have a chunky body shape with a short tail. They have a very good sense of sight, smell, and hearing. 

Woodchucks have sensory organs located near the top of their head, enabling them to check for danger by sticking their head out of the burrow. They are four-legged creatures and their front feet have long claws that help them build burrows. 

Burrows from a human’s perspective just look like 10-12 inch holes marked by a crescent-shaped mound of dirt but they often connect with other tunnels under the ground. They often have two separate burrows; one for the summer (often a grassy area) and one for the winter (often a wooded area).

These burrows are often found in fields, along fences, along the roadside, near building foundations, or at the base of trees. They hibernate in the winter (late October to late February) and this takes place in their winter burrow which often only has one entrance. They often are lined with grass and the woodchuck often uses soil to block off the entrance through winter. Although they seem like fun creatures they are often annoying to most homeowners.

Groundhog popping out of his hole

Woodchucks can cause damage to home gardens, farms, orchards, and field crops. This damage is caused by their burrowing and feeding. They also often tend to destroy building foundations, create unwanted holes in lawns, and they chew on electrical wires (causes electrical outages). Although they can cause all this damage to physical objects they are no real threat to humans. They can carry fleas, ticks, and rabies.

To try and prevent these pests you should inspect your home for any access points. These include but are not limited to broken vent covers, holes in the foundation, and chimneys. To fix holes with caulk and fix any loose siding. If you have a chimney you should install a mesh covering. If you do have problems with woodchucks you should contact your local pest control company to recommend the best way to solve this problem.

Woodchucks are very interesting creatures and are architects underground. They are architects but can cause major annoyance to homeowners who may have to repair damages caused by the burrowing of these creatures. Make sure you check your home often for any entrance sites for groundhogs and you shouldn’t have a major problem with these creatures.

Author: Alysin Theilen

Student Scholarships

Every year Thrive Pest Control hosts an essay contest and the reward is a 1-year scholarship at a 4-year university in the United States. This blog post is one of those scholarships.