Groundhogs are large rodents that are known for their destructive behavior. They use their long, sharp claws to burrow into your garden and enjoy eating your flowers, vegetables, and tree bark. If they are becoming a nuisance, animal control professionals have the tools and experience to respond to your new friends. Here are five facts about groundhogs.
The scientific name for groundhogs, or woodchucks, is Marmota monax. They are the largest species in the squirrel family with the average size of a groundhog being about 20 inches long with a 7-inch tail. They typically weight about 6 to 12 pounds. On average, groundhogs live between 3 and 6 years. You can differentiate groundhogs from other large rodents by their brown fur, round body and small, bushy tail, short yet strong legs, curved claws, and small, round eyes. A groundhogs’ ears are located on top of their head and they have two long incisors.
Habitats and Diet
The area where the forest meets an open, well-vegetated field is often home to groundhogs. They spend much of their time underground in complex systems that they burrow. The ideal soil for burrowing is dry and well drained. Each day, a groundhog will eat a third of their weight in vegetation. They enjoy apples, beans and peas, carrot tops, clover, dandelions, flowers, garden vegetables, and tree bark. It’s not common, but sometimes they will also eat insects.
Groundhogs can be spotted throughout the day during the spring, summer, and fall months. In the morning and afternoon, they’ll emerge from their burrows to gather food. They hibernate from October to early spring when mating season begins. The underground systems in which groundhogs live are comprised of multi-chamber burrows where they hoard food, nest, and hibernate. Groundhogs typically live solitary lifestyles, only seeking companionship during mating season. They do, however, warn each other of impending danger through unique, high-pitched shrills.
If you’ve been noticing mounds of soil in various locations, damaged or hollowed out crops, weakened building foundations, or chewed tubing, you may be experiencing a groundhog problem. There are traps and repellents you can use to keep groundhogs off your property.
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Shumaker’s Animal Control has over 25 years of experience in the animal and pest control field. Whatever your problem, we can help remedy the situation and restore your home (or yard) back to normal. Give us a call at (443) 854-8072 or contact us online today to see how we can help you! For more information on household and neighborhood pests and how to protect your family, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.