From NetHackWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A woodchuck, r, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. It is a small herbivorous animal that is extremely similar to the rock mole in several aspects, sharing most of the same stats and the ability to tunnel through walls and trees - the woodchuck and rock mole are also the only rodents that are capable of vomiting.[1] Unlike the rock mole, woodchucks can also swim, and have a tendency to wander while moving.

Woodchucks are primarily included as a reference to the Usenet Oracle, which the Oracle monster is based on - a few messages related to the Oracle make reference to woodchucks.

A woodchuck has a single bite attack.


Woodchucks are not randomly generated, though they are a valid form for polymorph, and figurines and statues of them can be wished for. A normally-generated woodchuck would always be created hostile.


Woodchucks are almost never seen in the wild by characters that do not deliberately generate them, with the exception of shapeshifters such as chameleons or other monsters polymorphing themselves. As such, they are not especially notable to most players with the exception of extinctionist play, where they must be generated by the character in order to kill off enough of them. Otherwise, much of the same strategies that apply to rock moles also apply to woodchucks, though they will thankfully avoid eating valuable metallic items.

Woodchucks are not uncommon to generate in some form as a means of novelty - one particular player on servers such as Hardfought is known to make a novelty wish for a named figurine of a woodchuck (usually called Carl) while standing on the character's proper high altar just before before ascension.


The woodchuck is introduced in NetHack 3.3.0.


The woodchuck is a common name for the groundhog (Marmota monax), a rodent that is part of the family Sciuridae, which includes large ground squirrels known as marmots. The groundhog is a lowland creature of North America, and is found through much of the Eastern United States, across Canada and into Alaska. It was first scientifically described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. The groundhog is exceptional among marmots due to its habitat, and plays an important role as a habitat engineer, maintaining healthy soil in woodlands and plains.

Groundhogs are considered the most solitary of the marmot species: They live in aggregations, and their social organization also varies across populations. Groundhogs do not form stable, long-term pair-bonds, and typically only pair up during mating - groundhogs in Ohio are a notable exception, with adult males and females associating with each other throughout the year and often from year to year. Groundhogs are extremely intelligent, forming complex social networks and kinship with their young; they also demonstrate the ability to understand social behavior, communicate threats through whistling, and work cooperatively to solve tasks such as burrowing.

The name "woodchuck" stems from an Algonquian (possibly Narragansett) name for the animal, wuchak: the similarity between the words has led to the popular tongue-twister "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" The Usenet Oracle (or Internet Oracle) has an Oracularity dedicated to this tongue-twister, which was frequently asked as a question - an excerpt from the Oracularity serves as the encyclopedia entry.


You hear someone say "No more woodchucks!"
You hear a loud ZOT!
You are on the Oracle level while hallucinating.[2]


Some variants make it possible for woodchucks to generate under certain circumstances, and many of them incorporate the grudge patch, whose original revision causes woodchucks to attack the Oracle on sight. While the Oracle will not do the same, these variants generally enable her passive magic missile attack for use against other monsters, including woodchucks that attack her, and a woodchuck hit by the Oracle's magic missiles will produce a unique message: "ZOT!"


In SLASH'EM, woodchucks may very rarely generate on the Oracle level, and many of them will generate there on Groundhog Day (February 2), with a recurring message of "No more woodchucks!"[3] This also applies to SlashTHEM.


In dNetHack, the first hallucinatory message for the Oracle level will cause a woodchuck to generate when printed, while the latter hallucinatory message will instantly kill a given woodchuck on the level.

TNNT (the game)

In TNNT (the game), the DevTeam Office has a 15 chance of generating a peaceful woodchuck named Carl in the upper hidden room at level creation.


In xNetHack, the Oracle map featuring trees and pools has an historic statue of a woodchuck, and one of the Big Room maps generates a woodchuck named Carl at level creation. The latter instance is explicitly noted as being inspired by K2 and his daughter - of note is that K2 is the primary developer of EvilHack.

Starting a game on Groundhog Day will allow woodchucks to randomly generate during that game with a frequency of 2.


In SpliceHack, the Oracle map featuring trees and pools has an historic statue of a woodchuck, and the vanilla Delphi map is revamped to have a 124 chance of generating a historic woodchuck statue.

In older versions, the Dancer quest generated a woodchuck on the home level at level creation.


In EvilHack, the Oracle map featuring trees and pools has an historic statue of a woodchuck, as in xNetHack and SpliceHack.

Woodchucks may be generated in the Infidel quest: there is a 25 chance of one being generated on the locate level, a 12 chance of one being generated on the goal level, and a 35 chance of one being generated on each of the lower filler levels.

There is a very rare chance of a woodchuck being generated as a minion of a neutral god, and monsters may wish for a figurine of a woodchuck.


In Hack'EM, the Oracle map featuring trees and pools has an historic statue of a woodchuck as in other variants, and the Oracle map featuring elemental statues also includes an historic woodchuck statue.

Encyclopedia entry

The Usenet Oracle requires an answer to this question!
> How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could
> chuck wood?
"Oh, heck! I'll handle *this* one!" The Oracle spun the terminal back toward himself, unlocked the ZOT-guard lock, and slid the glass guard away from the ZOT key. "Ummmm....could you turn around for a minute? ZOTs are too graphic for the uninitiated. Even *I* get a little squeamish sometimes..." The neophyte turned around, and heard the Oracle slam his finger on a computer key, followed by a loud ZZZZOTTTTT and the smell of ozone.

[ Excerpted from Internet Oracularity 576.6 ]