Woodchucks are primarily brown, but have also been described as having a “grizzled-yellowish” back. A burrower, this species has strong legs with curved claws, small eyes and short ears. These animals can be distinguished from squirrels because of their large size.
Woodchucks are often found along the edges of forests and along rocky bluffs or ravines. These animals create extensive burrows, which may be 30 feet in length. Woodchucks are fairly limited to eastern Oklahoma, but have been reported in Pawnee, Payne, Lincoln, Logan, Okfuskee, Pittsburg and Oklahoma counties in recent years. The first preserved specimen of a woodchuck from Oklahoma was from Ottawa County in 1960.
Primarily vegetarians, woodchucks are active during the day. Mating occurs in March or early April; an average of four to five young are born a month later. Woodchucks are suspected to hibernate in Oklahoma for four to six months.
Large for Oklahoma's rodents, the woodchuck weighs between 6 and 10 pounds. They are approximately 2 feet in length.