KENNETH H. THOMAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KENNETH H. THOMAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The Woodchuck's (Marmota monax) name comes from a Cree Indian word wuchak used to identify several different animals of similar size and color, including other marmots; it denotes nothing about the woodchuck's habits or habitat. The woodchuck is also known as a Groundhog or Whistle Pig (Appalachian Mountains). This sun-loving creature is active by day, especially in early morning and late afternoon. In late summer or early fall, the woodchuck puts on a heavy layer of fat, which sustains it through hibernation. It digs a winter burrow with a hibernation chamber, where it curls up in a ball on a mat of grasses. A good swimmer and climber, the woodchuck will ascend a tree to escape an enemy or to obtain a better vantage point, but never travels far from its den. Ludlow, MA.
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