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You may not give much thought to groundhogs beyond February 2nd Groundhog Day celebrations, but they can pose a serious threat to your home and land. They can dig deep holes in lawns, damage crops, weaken building foundations, and chew through tubing, wires, and irrigation systems.
Groundhogs, also known as a woodchucks, whistlepigs, groundpigs, and a variety of other names, typically measure 16” - 26” long (including a 6” tail), and weigh 4 - 9 pounds. Known as an "edge" species, groundhogs like to dig complex burrow systems in dry, well-drained soil near fencerows, hedgerows, structures, home foundations, and trees that they use for sleeping, rearing young, and hibernating. Their burrows usually have two to five entrances to provide multiple escape routes from predators and can consist of over 40 feet of tunnels buried up to 5 feet underground. These burrows can damage farm machinery and even undermine building foundations.
In the wild, groundhogs can live up to six years, but two or three years is the average. Their common predators include wolves, cougars, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, bears, eagles, and dogs. Young groundhogs often fall prey to snakes, which can easily enter the burrow.
Mostly herbivorous, a groundhog’s diet generally consist of wild grasses, berries, and agricultural crops, but they also eat grubs, grasshoppers, insects, and snails. Groundhogs will eat approximately 1/3 of their weight in vegetation each day and in the summer and fall they increase their consumption to accumulate fat reserves for winter hibernation.
Groundhogs often build a separate "winter burrow" for their winter hibernation. They usually choose a wooded or brushy area and they will dig below the frost line so that their burrow will remain at a stable temperature (well above freezing) during the winter months. Groundhogs usually hibernate from October to March or April, but they may hibernate as little as three months in warmer areas.
Do not try to trap or handle a groundhog. If you need groundhogs removed from your residential or commercial properties, call Wild Trappers. Our state certified wildlife trappers will remove groundhogs and any other nuisance wildlife from your property via safe and humane animal trapping and removal techniques. We will also inspect your property inside and out, top to bottom, to identify the entry points and/or potential problem areas and offer you safe and cost effective solutions. Call us today for a quote or inspection.