March 21, 2023

To the rescue: Give a chuckling a chance

orphaned baby woodchuck

Sometimes, we call baby woodchucks “chucklings.” In the condition we have no laughing matter when she was brought to Cape Wildlife Center. Found all alone, she was nearly starved and far too young to be on her own.

“It is just over five ounces, was covered with dirt and infested in ticks,” says center director Deborah Millman.

The tiny woodchuck was cleaned and the ticks were gently removed. A veterinarian examined her and she was given medication and special care, including being hand fed.

When she was strong enough, she was moved to the center’s nursery ward where she slowly began to eat on her own.

“Under our careful attention, her weight doubled in just 12 days,” says Millman.

Soon she was moved to an outdoor habitat she shared with other woodchuck patients. Made just for them, the habitat has areas for digging and items the animals use to learn how to forage (find food) and survive in the wild. When they’re ready, they’ll be released and will establish their own territory. Now that’s something to smile about!

Did you know?

Woodchucks are also known as groundhogs and whistle pigs. When they sense danger they make a high-pitched whistle to warm others in their colony