Animal models of hepatitis B virus infection have been valuable for determining the mechanisms of hepadnavirus replication, for studies of pathogenesis, and for investigations of viral hepatocarcinogenesis. The woodchuck model also seems to be useful in the discovery and development of antiviral drugs to treat HBV infection and for testing new forms of immunotherapy. In particular, the woodchuck seems to be ideal for studying the effect of antiviral treatment and immunotherapy on the outcome of hepadnavirus infection and on survival. The median life expectancy of experimentally infected, chronic WHV carriers is approximately 29 months, and almost all develop HCC. New types of prophylaxis or therapy can be evaluated under controlled experimental conditions, in a relevant animal model, and within a reasonable time frame.