The answer, once calculated by a New York fish and wildlife technician named Richard Thomas, is that a Woodchuck would chuck about 700 pounds of wood. Thomas calculated the volume of dirt removed from a woodchuck’s burrow and decided a woodchuck could chuck about 700 pounds on a good day, with the wind at his back.”
But do woodchucks even eat wood, and are they a threat to your trees? No. Woodchucks, more appropriately known as groundhogs, don’t eat timber. The prefer understory vegetation, grubs, insects, and other pests. If you happen to see one in a tree while walking your woodlot, that is just how they escape predators, similar to raccoons. They aren’t trying to chuck your wood.
Why are they called “Woodchucks” if They Can’t Chuck Wood?
Believe it or not, the misnomer “woodchuck” has nothing to do with misconceptions about the animal’s diet. Instead, it is derived from the Algonquin word for groundhogs, wuchak, meaning “digger.” Even their other name, groundhog, is a bit of a misnomer. While they live in the ground, they aren’t related to hogs in any way. They are rodents belonging to the ground squirrel family, just like prairie dogs (which are absolutely not dogs).
Stop Worrying About Wood Chucked by Woodchucks and Start Worrying About Beavers.
How much wood would a woodchuck Chuck? It doesn’t really matter. The real question is how much wood could a beaver chuck. Not only do beavers eat wood, but the dams they build can substantially alter the water table on your property and flood large swaths of valuable woodland, killing your trees as efficiently as modern logging equipment. They can also do a tremendous amount of damage to forest roads, and that can be expensive to fix. Be sure not to let any beaver dams on your property get out of hand. Manually draining dams periodically or trapping beavers to remove them can help keep the problem at bay.