Groundhog Facts & Information
Protect your home or business from groundhogs by learning techniques for identification and control.
How to Prevent Groundhogs
What You Can Do
Since groundhogs may dig burrows in crawlspaces, it is important to inspect the outside of the home for the presence of a burrow entrance. Groundhogs can be controlled by preventing their access to buildings or gardens using sturdy, 4-foot-high fencing buried 12 inches in the ground. Groundhogs can also be live trapped using fresh fruit or vegetables to lure them into a trap. Homeowners can also lessen the likelihood of groundhogs living on their property by reducing the number of overgrown areas and brush piles that encourage groundhogs to construct burrows.
To learn more about groundhogs and how to protect your yard from becoming their new home, call your Orkin Pro.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
What Do Groundhogs Look Like?
Groundhogs are large rodents with solid, chunky bodies covered in brownish-gray fur. Groundhogs have short tails and four legs. Their front feet have long, curved claws that are used for digging their burrows and they have four large, very obvious chisel-shaped incisors for chewing. A fully grown adult groundhog’s head and body combined can be up to about 2 feet long. A groundhog’s lifespan is about 6 years.
What's the Difference Between Groundhogs and Woodchucks?
There is no difference between a groundhog and a woodchuck, and the terms actually are interchangeable. Groundhogs got their name from the Algonquin tribe of Native Americans, who originally called them “wuchak.” English settlers, in trying to use that word, likely came up with the name “woodchuck.” Groundhogs are also called whistle pigs since they emit a shrill “whistling-like” sound when they are disturbed; they may also be called forest marmots and land beavers.
Groundhog Behavior and Habitat Facts
Groundhogs construct their homes by burrowing soil along roadsides, in fields and yards, at the base of trees and around building foundations. Burrows can be as deep as five feet, usually with more than one entrance. The burrow system is where they raise their young, are sheltered from predators and the elements, and where they hibernate during cold weather. Groundhogs usually stay close to their burrow and generally don’t travel more than 150 feet away from the burrow to feed. Although groundhogs prefer to burrow under sheds or other outdoor structures, they may burrow in crawlspaces under homes.
Groundhogs not only create unsightly burrows but will eat almost any kind of plant. Their digging to create burrows and feeding on various plants usually damages lawns and landscaping. Groundhogs are herbivores and prefer tender plants, like those that are usually found in home gardens. Gardeners should be especially concerned since groundhogs like to consume garden vegetables, especially tomatoes.