Thursday, February 2, 2012

Woodchuck Day

(From A Field Guide to the Mammals, Burt & Grossenheider:)




WOODCHUCK   Marmota monax
(Ground Hog, Marmot)
Recognition: Head and body 16-20 inches; tail 4-7 inches;wt. 5-10 lb.
This heavy-bodied, short-legged, yellowish-brown to brown animal is best known in the eastern part of its range. Belly paler than the back; hairs on body have a slightly frosted appearance; feet dark brown or black; no white except around nose. Skull has 22 teeth. There are eight mammae.
Similar species: (1) Hoary Marmot -- black and white on head and shoulders. (2) Arctic Ground Squirrel -- smaller; feet not black.
Habitat: Open woods, brushy and rocky ravines.
Habits: Diurnal for most part; may wander at night in early spring. Feeds on tender, succulent plants. Dens in extensive burrow with two or more openings; may be 4-5 ft. deep and 25-30 ft. long; known to have excavated dirt at 1 opening, others dug from below, concealed. Hibernates Oct.-Feb. Home range, 40-160 acres. Voice a shrill whistle. Lives 4-5 years. Mates in March or April; breeds at 1 year.
Young: Born April-May; 2-6; gestation period 31-32 days; 1 litter a year. Naked; blind.
Economic status: In an agricultural area the Woodchuck can do considerable damage to crops; in other areas it is probably beneficial, since its burrows are refuges and homes for many other mammals -- game and furbearers.
February 2, 2012: Saw its shadow.

2 comments:

  1. What a nice family he has! Sweet field guide. The depictions and drawings are super cool. The track prints are outstanding.

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