What Is the Difference Between a Groundhog, a Gopher and a Woodchuck?

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According to WildlifeDamageControl.net, the terms gopher, whistle pig, groundhog and woodchuck all refer to the same species, Marmota monax. Woodchucks are stocky, four-legged animals that may weigh up to 10 pounds. Woodchucks have a reputation for being troublesome pests that are hard to eradicate. They consume foods grown by farmers and gardeners, while their burrowing habits can undermine homes, decks and porches.

While many people use the term gopher to describe woodchucks, some people refer to the 35 species of rodents of the family Geomyidae as pocket gophers. Pocket gophers live a subterranean lifestyle as woodchucks do, according to the University of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Web, but they are smaller than woodchucks are. Large pocket gopher species may reach 2 to 3 pounds in weight. Pocket gophers derive their name from the pockets inside their cheeks, which the tunneling rodents use to carry food.

According to Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center, woodchucks primarily subsist on a diet of grasses, fruits and berries, but they will also eat grubs, insects, snails and other small animals. While these animals only live to about 6 years of age in the wild, captive woodchucks have been known to live up to 22 years.