What are groundhogs?
Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are a type of rodent. They are also one of the 14 species of marmot or surface squirrels. Most people possibly know the groundhog as a weather prognosticator; nonetheless, those predictions are a mixed bag.
How do Groundhogs Look Like?
Groundhogs are more or less like squirrels with small tails. They are a part of the squirrel family and have the skills of climbing and swimming. Their two coverings of fur are shades of brown and sometimes grey, with rare instances of albinos or nearly black fur. Their feet are coated in dark brown or black fur and are excellent digging tools.
A relatively unique quality among rodents, groundhog incisors don’t protrude when their mouths are closed and inclined to be whitish rather than the common brownish-yellow of most rodent teeth.
On average, groundhogs measure 1 to 2.5 feet in length and 7 to 13 pounds in weight, although they can potentially grow to be 3 feet long and weigh as much as 30 pounds when in a region with few predators.
Groundhogs usually prefer grassy or wooded areas. They’re burrowing creatures, and a burrow will naturally include multiple escape paths. As a general rule, they’re solitary animals, although females bear litters of 4 to 6 pups between March and April and will raise them for about three months before they depart to create their burrows.
What do Groundhogs Eat?
Groundhogs (like prairie dogs) are mainly herbivores and like to eat grass, red clover, berries, and bark. They are known for consuming vegetables and other crops which make them a nuisance in the lawn. However, they are also known to eat a bunch of other garden pests, including grubs, snails, caterpillars, and grasshoppers.
Life Cycle of Groundhogs
On average, the groundhog life period is three years. Their short life period can be because of their defenselessness to predators, such as foxes, coyotes, owls, bobcats, hawks, and even household pets such as cats, dogs.
Additionally, groundhogs move gradually and they are prevalent in suburban regions, hence they are also killed by automobiles. Groundhogs begin reproducing during their 2nd year of lifespan. Breeding season takes place after hibernation ends in around March, depending on geographic region and weather.
There is a single groundhog born each year for each female and the pregnancy period is about 30 days. Groundhogs can deliver up to five offspring at a period. A two-month-old may venture off to inaugurate their region.
How to get rid of groundhogs naturally
1. Using ammonia
- Find a fine and warm sunny day and take about 3 mugs of sudsy ammonia.
- Pour the solution in the burrow which is built by the groundhog and wait them to come out immediately.
- If they don’t, yet, you might expect to repeat this.
- If you don’t have the ingredients, you can mix a glass of water with 2 cups of normal ammonia and 2 spoons of detergent.
- Always wear gloves while performing this.
2. Get a dog
- This is by far one of the simplest ways that you can work in to get rid of groundhogs.
- Of course, you need to train the dog and if you don’t know how to do so you can easily take it off to someone who does.
- This is going to make the whole procedure even easier.
3. Remove everything which may attract them
- As far as prevention goes, removing the things which may attract them is surely going to work for you.
- Groundhogs like to create their burrows where there is adequate natural shelter and it’s best if you eliminate all heaps of dirt and rocks for that matter.
- If you have bushes as well as small plants, this might attract them so make sure that they are properly protected and cut.
Mud is another home solution. All you require is to fill their burrows with mud over and over again. Even though it’s a tiring and relatively lengthy process, the groundhog is going to get tired out of digging it up again and again and it’s going to leave the whole area.
- As most of the underground rodents, groundhogs also get annoyed by strong scents.
- This is something which is going to provoke them to leave the burrow quicker than you guessed.
- With this in mind, you might expect to put garlic paste or cloves in their burrows.
6. Adequate fencing
This is going to effectively protect your whole garden from further trespassing of groundhogs. Once you tend to get those rodents out of your lawn or if they haven’t infested yet, make sure to protect your garden with adequate fencing.
7. Planting a food source outside your lawn
When you plant their beloved food somewhere far from your lawn, this is surely going to attract them and keep your yard out of harm’s way.
8. Talcum powder
You can conveniently spray some talcum powder on the perimeters of your garden as well as in their burrows to get rid of them soon.
9. Pepper – sprinkle red pepper flakes
Either use those little red pepper flakes or use a pepper spray to get rid of groundhogs.
Fumigation continues one of the best remedies that you can take advantage of regardless of the type of animal you are up against. It is usually completed with the help of a cartridge of gas which is compressed with carbon monoxide.
11. Cat litter
You can insert cat litter into the hole of the groundhogs if you wish to get rid of it. Make it muddy by stirring it up with some water.
12. Human hair
- It is far more possible for groundhogs to hate scent of people.
- This is why human hair continues to be one of the most effective means to get rid of them.
- Sprinkle it around your lawn and this is going to chase them away.
The do’s and don’ts
There are a few aspects that you might like to do and a few that you expect to avoid. Let’s have a look.
Things to do
- Use the favorite food of the groundhog as an effective bait against them
- Check with your provincial laws to determine that wielding the above mentioned methods are legal
- Clean and protect your garden regularly
Things not to do
- Do not kill the animal when you capture it. Instead, leave it about far away from your home.
- As you can notice, there are quite a few things that you might like to take into adequate consideration when it comes to it. These are the most helpful remedies that you can take advantage of at home to get rid of these burdensome groundhogs.
Frequently asked Questions
1. How to trap groundhogs
When you buy a groundhogs trap, you should be well aware of the process of trapping, so that you won’t do it in the wrong way.
Position the trap
The first step is to place the trap in the right place. The right place depends upon the groundhog’s activity, if you find any tunnel in your lawn then place it on its exit point or place it near the fencing of your garden or house.
Bait the trap
- Groundhogs will come to your garden only in the search of food.
- So to attract these rodents, put some food in your trap.
- The most appealing bait for groundhogs are Carrot sticks, celery sticks, apples, and peanut butter, etc.
- Put these baits near the entrance of the bait to see effective results.
Handle the cage with proper care
- This is the most important step. When you notice that the groundhogs have been caught in the trap, throw an old cloth on the trap cage as this will calm down the groundhogs and wear gloves for safety purposes, so it’s better to cover the trap with a cloth to prevent any activity of the groundhogs.
- Relocating any caged animal is a must.
- Make sure you leave the groundhogs 10 miles away from your house so that they won’t come back.
- Open the door of the cage and immediately after that, exit the place soon.
2. How harmful Groundhogs are?
Groundhogs are considered a dangerous pest because they can cause extensive harm to farms, home gardens, orchards, and field crops as a result of their eating and digging habits.
When burrowing, they have been known to destroy building foundations, create undesirable holes in gardens, and cause electrical outages from chewing on underground wires.
Groundhogs hardly come in connection with humans, and that does why make no main public health risks. However, they are known for spreading fleas, ticks, and rabies.
3. When are groundhogs active?
During early spring, groundhogs are mostly active during the warm parts of the day. Yet, during the warm spring and summer months, the day is spent in their cool burrows and feeding happens during the early morning and at night. Groundhogs begin hibernation during mid-October and emerge in February.
4. When do groundhogs come out?
In February, males come out of hibernation and look for females’ burrows. When they find a female burrow, they head on in. It is believed that males do this to introduce themselves to conceivable mates. In the spring, breeding season progresses and the females give birth to 2 to 6 baby groundhogs after a pregnancy period of around 30 days.
The newborns are blind and bald but quickly become mature in just 3 months or so. When they are mature, they normally leave their mother to burrow their own homes. Groundhogs live around 3 to 6 years.
5. Where are groundhogs found?
Groundhogs are mostly found in the regions of the central and eastern United States, also in the parts of Canada and Alaska. Known as an “edge” species, groundhogs like transitional regions.
6. What attracts groundhogs?
Groundhogs are particularly attracted to sweet fruits, such as cantaloupe, strawberries, peaches, blueberries, or corn. They also like green beans, lettuce, and cucumber. Place the bait inside the trap so that the groundhog has to enter the trap completely.
Groundhog can be a dangerous rodent in a property by burrowing holes in the ground and eating vegetables and garden plants. A safe and easiest way to control groundhogs is by using Nature’s Defense all-natural repellent. Also, you can trap them with the Live Traps and another repellent. Prevent groundhogs from hunting out your house with continued prophylactic applications of Nature’s Protection or by stirring and applying ammonia to troubled spots.