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Gopher vs. Woodchuck: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 7, 2024
Gophers are small, burrowing rodents known for their extensive tunneling, while woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, are larger, burrow-dwelling mammals famous for their weather prediction lore.

Key Differences

Gophers are small rodents with fur-lined pouches outside their mouths for carrying food, primarily found in North and Central America. Woodchucks, or groundhogs, are larger rodents, known for their burrowing habits and are found in North America.
The gopher's diet mainly consists of roots and tubers, which they find while burrowing. Woodchucks, in contrast, have a more varied diet including grasses, fruits, and sometimes small insects.
Gophers are solitary animals, spending most of their time in underground tunnels. Woodchucks, though also burrowers, are known to spend more time above ground and can climb trees.
The gopher's burrowing activity significantly impacts soil and plant life, often considered pest-like. The woodchuck's burrowing can also impact human activities but is less regarded as a pest.
Gophers are smaller, with a body length of about 6-8 inches, not including their tails. Woodchucks are considerably larger, with a body length of 16-20 inches and a distinctive waddling gait.

Comparison Chart


Smaller (6-8 inches)
Larger (16-20 inches)


Roots, tubers
Grasses, fruits, insects

Burrowing Behavior

Extensive underground tunnels
Burrows underground, more time above ground

Social Behavior

Less solitary

Geographical Location

North and Central America
North America

Gopher and Woodchuck Definitions


Has fur-lined pouches for carrying food.
The gopher used its pouches to transport food.


A large burrowing mammal.
A woodchuck dug a burrow near the forest edge.


A small burrowing rodent.
The gopher dug a network of tunnels in the garden.


Associated with weather prediction folklore.
The woodchuck's shadow was used to predict the length of winter.


Often considered a pest due to its burrowing.
Farmers sometimes struggle with gopher infestations.


Primarily eats plants and grasses.
The woodchuck in our yard was eating the grass.


Known for extensive tunneling activities.
Gophers can create complex tunnel systems.


Another name for a groundhog.
The woodchuck emerged from its burrow in early spring.


Affects soil composition and plant life.
The gopher's tunneling changed the landscape of the field.


Capable of climbing trees.
Surprisingly, the woodchuck climbed up the apple tree.


Any of various short-tailed, burrowing rodents of the family Geomyidae of North America, having fur-lined external cheek pouches. Also called pocket gopher.


A large burrowing rodent (Marmota monax) of northern and eastern North America, having a short-legged, heavyset body and grizzled brownish fur. Also called groundhog; also called regionally whistle pig.


Any of various ground squirrels of North American prairies.


A rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots, Marmota monax.


A common large North American marmot (Arctomys monax). It is usually reddish brown, more or less grizzled with gray. It makes extensive burrows, and is often injurious to growing crops. Called also ground hog.


The yaffle, or green woodpecker.


Reddish brown North American marmot


Are woodchucks considered pests like gophers?

Woodchucks can be considered pests, but not as commonly as gophers.

Do gophers hibernate like woodchucks?

Gophers do not hibernate, unlike woodchucks.

Are woodchucks and groundhogs the same animal?

Yes, woodchuck is another name for a groundhog.

Can gophers cause significant damage to gardens?

Yes, gophers can cause extensive damage due to their burrowing.

Is the woodchuck’s weather prediction scientifically accurate?

No, the woodchuck’s weather prediction is more folklore than science.

Are woodchucks a protected species?

The protection status varies by region, but generally, they are not protected.

Are gophers and woodchucks the same size?

No, gophers are smaller than woodchucks.

Do gophers and woodchucks have similar diets?

Their diets differ; gophers eat mainly roots, while woodchucks have a more varied diet.

Can both gophers and woodchucks climb trees?

Woodchucks can climb trees, but gophers cannot.

Can woodchucks swim?

Yes, woodchucks are capable swimmers.

Do gophers have good eyesight?

Gophers have poor eyesight but excellent senses of touch and smell.

Do gophers live in groups?

No, gophers are typically solitary animals.

How deep do gophers burrow?

Gophers can burrow up to 6 feet deep.

How long do woodchucks typically live?

Woodchucks live for about 6 years in the wild.

Can gophers be found in urban areas?

Yes, gophers can sometimes be found in urban and suburban areas.

Are gophers active during the day or night?

Gophers are primarily diurnal, active during the day.

Do woodchucks have a significant role in their ecosystem?

Yes, woodchucks play a role in soil aeration and as prey for predators.

Are gophers active year-round?

Yes, gophers remain active throughout the year.

Do woodchucks have any natural predators?

Yes, woodchucks have predators like foxes and hawks.

Do woodchucks build complex tunnel systems like gophers?

Woodchucks do burrow, but their tunnel systems are generally not as complex as those of gophers.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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