Many people go years before realizing they have a groundhog problem on their property. This is likely due to the prospect that many people are not even sure what a groundhog is or what they look like. Continue reading to learn what you should know about groundhogs, and how to get rid of them if they become a problem for you.
What is a Groundhog?
Groundhogs do not really have an appealing name; do they? When you put “ground” and “hog” together, you don’t really paint an attractive visual image. The truth is, they are part of the rodent family, so this particular mental image is probably not too far off. As children, many of us remember the riddle, “how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” Well, groundhogs are woodchucks!
Groundhogs are the largest members of the Sciuridae family, which is reserved for medium-sized rodents like squirrels. Adults are an average of 16 to 20 inches long, and weigh between 5 to 12 pounds. They have brownish tan fur, sharp claws, and long tails, usually 6 inches in length. In the wild, they can live up to 10 years, but generally have lifespans that average between 3 and 6 years. As herbivores, groundhogs can eat roughly one-third of their body weight in vegetation each day; however, they are known to eat insects at times.
Known as edge species, groundhogs like to linger in transitional areas where forest meets a well-vegetated open field or meadow. As a diurnal species, they are active during the day, and spend most of their time underground in complex burrow systems. Dry soil in good condition is a prime target area for groundhogs because it makes for the best burrowing. It is common to find groundhog burrows near fence lines, houses, hedgerows, and lined trees. Their digging can be quite destructive to residential and commercial lawns, making them quite to nuisance to many.
Managing Nuisance Groundhogs
Common signs of a groundhog problem include more than just mounds of soil and visible lawn burrowing. You may also notice chewing on garden vegetables, damaged crops, chewed irrigation lines, and paw prints in soil. If you see signs of groundhog burrowing or activity, your first step is to contact a local and trusted Michigan wildlife control company for a full-property inspection. They retain the proper permits, training, and technologies to accurately identify a woodchuck infestation, and recommended the best course of action to get rid of them, safely and humanely.