Mammals of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Woodchuck - Marmota monax
Sciuridae Members:
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Photo by: Jason Brown
Distribution In NC, it occurs throughout the mountains, nearly throughout the Piedmont, and into the northern third to half of the Coastal Plain, except nearly absent in the extreme northeastern and coastal areas. Possibly absent in a few southeastern Piedmont counties, but the species is spreading southward in the Coastal Plain, and likely also in the Piedmont.

Quite widespread for a rodent, ranging from coast to coast, across most of the southern half of Canada and the northeastern United States. It ranges south to NC, AL, and AR.
Abundance Common and widespread in the mountains; common in the northwestern Piedmont, but decreasing in abundance southward and eastward, but fairly common now to the northeastern part of the Piedmont. Scarce to possibly absent in Piedmont counties east of Charlotte and near or along the SC border. Uncommon but increasing in the northern Coastal Plain, spreading southward fairly rapidly.
Seasonal Occurrence Active all year in the Coastal Plain, and probably parts of the Piedmont. However, hibernates in the mountains and probably so in much of the Piedmont.
Habitat Favors montane meadows and pastures, often near wooded edges and open woods. Farther eastward, often in wooded margins or even inside forests, but often around roadbanks and roadsides where there are vertical or near-vertical banks. In the Coastal Plain, they also occur in wooded areas, usually near edges, as well as along roadbanks. Thus, downstate they are more likely to be found near roadsides where there are banks (often man-made), as opposed to the mountains, where there is much more topography.
See also Habitat Account for Forest-Field Ecotones and Groves
Behavior Woodchucks are active most often in early morning and late afternoon, ane sometimes at night. They are not as active in the middle of the day, particularly in the heat of summer. They are commonly seen feeding along grassy road edges, and many are killed on roads. They create extensive burrows, and the burrow openings are fairly conspicuous and often seen in forested banks.
Comments The species is clearly moving south and increasing in abundance, perhaps as many newer roads and highways now are raised on built-up ground, allowing the mammals to be able to burrow into the man-created banks. They are considered as pests in much of the range, such as in the mountains, where ranchers are fearful of their livestock breaking a leg by stepping into a woodchuck burrow.
Origin Native
NC List Official
S_rank S5
G_rank G5
subspecies Marmota monax monax
other_comName Groundhog
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all database records for species in that county.