While some Americans celebrate groundhog sightings on February 2nd as the coming of spring and much-anticipated warmth, gardeners and homeowners alike prepare for battle against the creatures’ feast or famine lifestyle. After hibernating for the winter, these miniature bear look-alikes leave their burrows to gorge on whatever sustenance they can find. Their favorite foods include grass, plants, fruits, and even tree bark. As herbivores, groundhogs eat approximately 1/3 of their weight in vegetation each day as they build up reserves of fat for the winter. These brown, bushy-tailed creatures might look cute if you catch them sunbathing on your lawn. However, you will find them considerably less charming when you discover each of your crops with one bite taken out of them. As if they are purposefully taunting you, these selective eaters often go for your best produce.

What Makes Groundhogs Such A Problem?

Though they serve as an essential part of the food chain, groundhogs can cause many problems if they settle where unwanted. With a tendency to occupy the same territory year after year, groundhogs will turn your residence into their home. Their extensive burrows can range from 8–66 feet long and include multiple entrances and rooms. They even designate specific rooms as bathrooms. Unfortunately, their elaborate homes cause extensive damage to gardens, farms, orchards, and field crops, as well as fencing and building foundations. Long-term burrowing that goes unnoticed can lead to structural collapse, which can be very dangerous for human inhabitants.
Groundhogs also have rapidly growing incisors, which can only be tamed by extensive chewing beyond satiating their appetite. Along with vegetation, groundhogs tend to chew tubing and parts of irrigation systems. They can even cause electrical outages by gnawing on underground wires.

Signs You May Have An Unwanted Guest

Also known as woodchucks, land-beavers, marmots, and whistle-pigs (for the high-pitched whistle they emit when alarmed), groundhogs frequent areas where woodland meets open space such as fields, roads, and streams. In agricultural areas, they tend to live along creeks, pastures, and wooded spaces. Among the most conspicuous signs that a groundhog might be shacking up on your property are 10 to 12-inch circular holes in the ground, especially if accompanied with a mound of dirt beside the dig-site. Other signs include large bites taken out of your crops and if the feathery tops of your carrots look like they have been mowed. Less obvious, though equally telling, are 1/4–3/4-inch teeth marks on wood, plantings, and lower branches of trees.
Though they are the largest members of the squirrel family, groundhogs are capable of both swimming and climbing. Combined with their penchant for burrowing, this allows them to enter spaces uninvited. If you notice areas of weakened foundation, you should address the problem immediately by calling a professional.

Leave It To The Professionals

As carriers of fleas, ticks, and even rabies (which can make them aggressive toward humans), it is best to leave the removal of these furry fiends to the professionals. At Wildlife Prevention & Repair, we specialize in removing problematic animals from your property, including groundhogs. Furthermore, we offer preventative measures to guard against future problems and repairs that can be quite costly. Let us protect your yards, play areas, and homes from these mischievous creatures so you can enjoy your home with an exclusive guest list—trespassing vermin barred.

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