# How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Actually Chuck?

In a tongue-tying episode of the PBS series Be Smart, host Dr. Joe Hanson attempted to answer the age old question of how much wood a could a woodchuck chuck? Being that woodchucks are lowland animals that like to dig burrows, a woodchuck would not chuck wood. They would chuck dirt.

Let’s assume they could chuck an equal weight of wood as dirt. In 1988 Richard Thomas measured a woodchuck burrow at 35 cubic feet and multiplying that by an approximate weight of a cubic foot of soil at 20 pounds, he came up with 700 pounds…except a cubic foot of soil weighs more like 70 to 100 pounds so by Thomas’s measurements a woodchuck can chuck more like 3,000 pounds.

Their name actually comes from the Algonquin word wuchak, which was then Anglicanized into the word woodchuck, so the answer to the age old riddle is actually none.

##### Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.