- Jun 30, 2011
- Reaction score
- Ontario, Canada
- Hardiness Zone
In Quebec, the French call them 'le siffleur' (the whistler). Around here we call them coyote food!Here's a bit of info I found on the critters:
The woodchuck — whose scientific name is Marmota monax — is more commonly called by one of several other names, such as groundhog, whistle pig or even land beaver. Woodchucks are rodents from the group of large ground squirrels called marmots.
So what’s up with all the different names? Woodchucks live all over the United States. Because they can be found in so many different areas, they came to be known by unique names in different regions.
For example, some people call them whistle pigs. When woodchucks are threatened, they will squeal loudly. Their squeal sounds somewhat like a whistle. This warns other woodchucks of danger and may also scare off predators.
In those areas where they’re known as woodchucks, it’s not because they like to chuck wood. Native Americans had several different names for woodchucks: otchek (Cree), otchig (Ojibwa) and wuchak (Algonquian).
English settlers used the more familiar sounds of their own language to come up with a word that sounded like these Native American names. That’s how “woodchuck” came about.