Groundhog in a Tree – Marmotte Commune (Marmota monax)

December 23, 2010  •  Leave a Comment

Groundhog in a Tree – Marmotte Commune (Marmota monax), originally uploaded by Steve Troletti –

The groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as a woodchuck or whistle-pig, or in some areas as a land-beaver, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. Other marmots, such as the yellow-bellied and hoary marmots, live in rocky and mountainous areas, but the woodchuck is a lowland creature. It is widely distributed in North America and common in the northeastern and central United States. Groundhogs are found as far north as Alaska, with their habitat extending southeast to Alabama.

The groundhog is the largest sciurid in its geographical range, typically measuring 40 to 65 cm (16 to 26 in) long (including a 15 cm (6 in) tail) and weighing 2 to 4 kg (4 to 9 lb). In areas with fewer natural predators and large amounts of alfalfa, groundhogs can grow to 80 cm (30 in) and 14 kg (31 lb). Groundhogs are well adapted for digging, with short but powerful limbs and curved, thick claws. Unlike other sciurids, the groundhog’s spine is curved, more like that of a mole, and the tail is comparably shorter as well – only about one-fourth of body length. Suited to their temperate habitat, groundhogs are covered with two coats of fur: a dense grey undercoat and a longer coat of banded guard hairs that gives the groundhog its distinctive “frosted” appearance.


La marmotte commune (Marmota monax) est le type de marmotte le plus répandu en Amérique du Nord. Elle est appelée localement siffleux ou parfois bonhomme couèche[1]. Son nom en anglais est groundhog, littéralement porc de terre). On la désigne aussi couramment sous le nom Woodchuck. C’est la plus solitaire des marmottes.

Cette espèce s’étend aux États-Unis, du Maine au Wisconsin, et du sud du Mississippi à l’Alabama. On la trouve au Canada, de la Nouvelle-Écosse sur la côte atlantique, jusqu’à l’Alaska.

* Taille: 46 à 66 cm
* Poids: 2 à 7 kg
* Longévité: 4 à 6 ans à l’état sauvage, 4 à 10 en captivité

Elle se nourrit d’herbe, de feuilles, de fleurs et particulièrement de trèfles, et quelquefois de glands.

La marmotte américaine est sujet d’une tradition célébrée chaque année le 2 février appelée le jour de la marmotte (groundhog day); en fonction de l’attitude de l’animal à midi, cela annoncera un printemps tardif ou précoce.

La marmotta americana (Marmota monax Linnaeus, 1758) è un roditore della famiglia Sciuridae, diffuso in Canada e nella parte nord-orientale degli Stati Uniti.

* Lunghezza del corpo 40 – 65 cm
* Lunghezza della coda 15 cm circa
* Peso 2- 4 kg (dipende dalla stagione considerando l’ibernazione.[1].
* Colore del pelo: gradualità giallo – marrone-rossiccio.

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