What Do Woodchucks Eat?

Written by Rebecca
Updated: October 14, 2022
© iStock.com/mirecca
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Key Points

  • Woodchucks are classified as omnivores. They eat a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, insects, eggs, small rodents, reptiles, and amphibians.
  • When plants, fruits, and vegetables are not easily accessible in their habitat, woodchucks hunt for small rodents, insects, amphibians, and reptiles. They sometimes eat the eggs of birds and reptiles.
  • Some predators like Foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and badgers inhabit the same habitat as woodchucks. They all eat woodchucks.

A woodchuck is a large rodent that goes by many names. Along with being called a groundhog, they are also called Canada marmots, chucks, and even whistle pigs. They are called whistle pigs because they make a high-pitched sound by pushing air through their teeth. They do this to warn other whistle pigs of a predator or other danger.

Woodchucks belong to the Sciuridae family. This family includes squirrels, chipmunks, and prairie dogs, among others.

Woodchucks live in Canada as well as throughout the eastern half of the United States. They make their burrows in woodlands, meadows, and fields. These mammals are highly skilled at finding something to eat in almost any environment.

Discover a few facts including what a woodchuck eats, how it finds its food, and what types of animals eat woodchucks.

What Does a Woodchuck Eat?

What Do Woodchucks Eat
Woodchucks are omnivores that eat a variety of foods, ranging from fruits to frogs.

©A-Z-Animals.com

A woodchuck eats a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, insects, eggs, small rodents, reptiles, and amphibians. They are classified as omnivores.

Plantlife makes up the main portion of a woodchuck’s diet. They eat grass, clover, and chickweed along with various types of wildflowers.

When plant life is sparse, woodchucks eat grasshoppers, beetles, and other insects. The diet of this large rodent extends to small mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. They sometimes eat the eggs of birds and reptiles.

Woodchucks have a generalist diet. In other words, they’re able to eat a variety of plants and animals in their habitat.

A Complete List of 10 Foods a Woodchuck Eats

This is a list of what a woodchuck eats:

  • Plant life such as alfalfa, grasses, clover, tree bark, chickweed, leaves
  • Fruits such as berries, oranges, bananas, apples, tomatoes, watermelon
  • Vegetables such as carrots, lettuce, onions, potatoes, cucumbers, peppers
  • Flowers including dandelions, daisies, geraniums, hydrangeas, marigolds, and sunflowers
  • Insects including beetles, grasshoppers, June bugs
  • Small mammals such as chipmunks, moles, squirrels, mice, rats
  • Small reptiles including turtles and lizards
  • Amphibians such as toads and frogs
  • Fish
  • Eggs belonging to birds and turtles

What Do Woodchucks Eat in the Garden?

While a woodchuck eats items in their woodland or meadow habitat, they also visit backyard gardens in search of the fruits and vegetables they love. Not surprisingly, many people with backyard gardens do all they can to prevent woodchucks from getting at their vegetables and fruits!

Flower gardens are another favorite with woodchucks. They eat all kinds of flowers which can certainly take a toll on a flourishing backyard flower garden.

Woodchucks are aggressive animals that are hard to get rid of when they invade your property. These rodents usually dig burrows in grassy areas and eat through gardens causing a lot of damage.

The items woodchucks eat in a garden include:

Vegetables

  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Onions
  • Peppers

Fruit

  • Berries
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Pumpkin

Flowers

  • Impatiens
  • Hydrangeas
  • Daisies
  • Sunflowers
  • Marigolds
  • Peonies
  • Geraniums

How Do Woodchucks Hunt Prey?

When plants, fruits, and vegetables are not easily accessible in their habitat, woodchucks hunt for small rodents, insects, amphibians, and reptiles.

Woodchucks live in meadows and woodlands, so they share their habitat with many of the small animals they eat. It’s easy for them to capture grasshoppers by grasping them with their claws. Woodchucks use their excellent digging skills to find beetles and worms underground. They also feed on the June bugs and other insects they find while tearing off pieces of tree bark to eat.

Woodchucks live in burrows, so they have easy access to small rodents that live underground such as mice and moles.

When visiting a nearby pond or lake for a drink, a hungry woodchuck may grab a turtle or frog living in that habitat. If they find duck eggs in the tall reeds near a pond they are likely to steal one or two to eat. Woodchucks sometimes wade through the water in search of small fish. They’re adept swimmers, so they can move out into the deeper parts of a pond or stream to find amphibians, reptiles, and fish.

What Animals Eat Woodchucks?

Foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and badgers all eat woodchucks. All of these predators inhabit the same habitat as woodchucks.

Foxes are faster than woodchucks and are able to hear movements underground. So, when a fox detects the movements of a woodchuck in its burrow, it starts digging to get its prey. Alternatively, a fox may choose a place near a woodchuck’s burrow and wait until it sees one emerge. Then, the fox stalks the woodchuck until it’s time to attack. A fox isn’t going to pounce until a woodchuck is far enough away from the safety of its burrow.

Coyotes and bobcats are experts at stalking woodchucks when they’re out of their burrows looking for food. Both of these mammals are larger than woodchucks and can overpower them fairly easily.

Badgers live in burrows just like woodchucks. So, they can dig in the ground to find a woodchuck that’s trying to escape. Badgers are known for their long claws, sharp teeth, and their strength. This makes them a dangerous predator for a groundhog.

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What do woodchucks eat
What do woodchucks eat
© iStock.com/mirecca

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About the Author

My name is Rebecca and I've been a Professional Freelancer for almost a decade. I write SEO content and graphic design. When I'm not working, I'm obsessing over cats and pet rats.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a woodchuck’s favorite food?

That’s a tough question because woodchucks have a lot of favorite foods to eat! But alfalfa and lettuce are two items at the top of their list of favorite things to eat.

How do you keep woodchucks away from a backyard garden?

There are natural ways to keep woodchucks away from a garden and its growing vegetables, fruits, and flowers. These solutions don’t cause any harm to a woodchuck.

Human hair clippings have been known to discourage woodchucks from entering a garden. They don’t like the scent of humans on the hair. A bag of hair clippings gathered from a recent haircut can be a deterrent to these small animals.

Sprinkle Epsom salts around your plants in the garden. Woodchucks don’t like the taste of this salt.

Sprinkle cayenne pepper around your garden. This is likely to discourage woodchucks from visiting your garden because they don’t like the scent of this spice.

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