Woodchucks are wonderful animals — bright, curious, industrious, adorable, cuddly-chunky (just don’t make them mad or you’re in a world of
hurt). They are vegetarians, and nibble all day on whatever delights are available. Gardeners are not so pleased with their presence, because they can wipe through a crop in no time. But, there are many gentle ways to deter woodchucks. They are sweet and good-natured fellow Earth family, so please share space with them. My grandfather used to kill them and trained his dogs to do so, too. Wire fencing will do an even better job, however.
Woodchucks interestingly timeshare dens with gray foxes. When the foxes are done with their baby-raising den, they move to larger quarters elsewhere, and in move the woodchucks. Most likely, it was the woodchuck who built the den in the first place. Many other animals also use woodchuck dens for their homes, including rabbits, raccoons, and snakes.
Woodchucks look quite similar to beavers and spend a similarly-significant amount of time and effort building and maintaining fairly elaborate lodges. While the beaver’s is partially underwater and partially above, the woodchuck’s den is underground. It is carefully
constructed so as to keep the bedroom chamber from flooding, by having it elevated above the entrance to the den. They also usually have at least 2 entrance/exits, for obvious reasons like escaping predators and in case one entrance was blocked. Woodchucks also are very tidy; they clean up their fecal matter and bury it! Just as chipmunks do.
While Ted Andrews in Animal Speak feels that the power cycle time for the woodchuck is during winter, I feel differently. I feel that it certainly is remarkable that the woodchuck can lower its metabolism and body temperature drastically – to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit — but their joy in daily living during the warm months when they are not hibernating gives me great pleasure. They really enjoy nibbling their food, often facing into the sun. They seem to enjoy the warmth and pleasantness. They are relaxed, unless there is a threat present, at which point they take off amazingly quickly. They kind of roll along under the radar, quiet, calm, and enjoying life. I always want to pet them, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t feel inclined. I assume they have some pretty good chompers, so I’ll enjoy them at a distance. Their fur is thick and beautiful, a warm, medium brown. Earth-colored.
A woodchuck totem showing up in your life could be talking about a number of things:
- burrowing deep into a subject, digging deep — as with your emotions
- carefully constructing your abode
- making your boundaries clear (woodchucks don’t like other woodchucks going into their dens, and they respect the pile of fresh dirt out front as a sign of “occupied – please do not enter”
- managing your metabolism
- being able to hibernate
- stocking up on food or other nourishment for an anticipated long time without it
- being able to go into a trance, such as lucid dreaming or shamanic journeying
- the heavy initial work done in winter, during “downtime” that gives you rest as you prepare for a busy growth and production season
These things can be meant symbolically, and also literally. You’ll know which interpretation is right for you by the way you react — your breathing changes, your pulse changes, you get goosebumps, you “just know”. Trust yourself, and then determine what right action to take.