• Do Groundhogs Burrow Under a House and Can They Damage It?


    Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are a large species of rodents. These wild animals are only found in North America, and can live as far south as Alabama and have lived as far north as Alaska.

    They are referred to as “edge dwellers” and prefer to live in areas such as woodlands and forests in winter and fall, and in open fields, grasslands, and suburban backyards in summer and spring. It is rare that a groundhog will move more than 0.5 miles from its burrow.

    However, as urbanization is affecting the natural habitats of wildlife, including groundhogs, these animals made our towns and cities their home. They are getting more adapted to urban settings, are less and less frightened of humans and keep burrowing even when humans are around.

    Do Groundhogs Live in the Ground?

    As the name would suggest, groundhogs live inside the ground. Their holes lead to the underground burrows that they call home. This is where they spend most of their time. Groundhogs use these tunnels as a place to stay safe from predators, and as an ideal place for hibernation and raising their kits.

    Are Groundhogs Problematic?

    Just like other rodents, the groundhog’s teeth never stop growing. Their two chisel-shaped, long incisors can grow up to 1/16th of an inch per week. To keep these teeth at a reasonable length, groundhogs need to consume a large volume of food to wear their teeth down.

    However, this isn’t usually the main problem for homeowners. The primary nuisance concern in regards to groundhogs involves their tendency to dig.

    Groundhogs have muscular bodies, powerful short legs, and sharp claws which enables them to dig deep burrows. They accomplish building their burrows extremely well, and this is why they are sometimes called the “underground architects”.

    What Do Groundhog Holes Look Like?

    All groundhog burrows are laid out in practically the same way. Typically, these burrows will have one and sometimes two main entrances with up to six exits. These entrances look like large crescent-shaped mounds of excavated soil and dirt that’s placed right outside the entrance hole. A groundhog hole will appear roughly ten to twelve inches in diameter. The burrow also has one up to four secondary entrances.

    The burrows can reach up to 50 feet in length but tend to be no deeper than 6 feet. When a groundhog starts building its burrow, it digs inward for several feet, and then it inclines the tunnel upward for a few more feet. After that, it will continue digging horizontally for another 15 to 25 feet.

    These burrows are extensive, with numerous chambers used separately as a latrine as well as for sleeping, hibernating, and nesting.

    Can Groundhogs Damage Your Property?

    Groundhogs are definitely something that homeowners need to worry about. Their tunneling systems might lead to significant damage to your property.

    These animals are able to dig and move a great amount of dirt, and when this activity happens near a house structure, for example under a concrete deck or a patio, the absence of supporting dirt might cause a vulnerable foundation that is prone to cracking.

    They feel safe building homes under or around houses as the structure provides overhead stability for them. However, due to the tunneling nature of groundhog burrows, water damage and erosion can become a serious issue for the homeowner.

    With rainy weather, these tunnels can fill with water and lead to water flowing directly underneath the house. This can lead to issues with the foundation, i.e. disruption of the existing water balance, and drainage problems during severe weather conditions.

    You may find increased moisture in the basement which can, in turn, lead to mold developing throughout the building. The water-logged tunnels can cause the soil to become eroded, which may lead to the entire failure of the house’s foundation.

    Due to their powerful teeth and big appetites, groundhogs can also do damage to crops and plants in your garden. For this reason, you may want to get rid of this wildlife before your garden gets destroyed.


    Final Words,

    Fortunately, there are ways that a homeowner can deter groundhogs from their property. The only thing that’s effective is to humanly trap and release the wildlife further away. DIY groundhog control methods are proven to not be working most of the time. Thus, your best option is to hire an experienced wildlife control company.

    Contact Westchester Wildlife for more information on humane trapping and removal of groundhogs from your property. We offer our services in Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam Counties, NY, and in Fairfield County, CT.



  • Rattlesnake

    Ok, this is definitely not something you want too close to you! These pictures were taken by Westchester Wildlife LLC during a Rattlesnake removal.

    Rattlesnakes are poisonous and considered very dangerous. If you notice one getting too comfortable around your home, Westchester Wildlife LLC has the experience to remove these snakes with ease.
  • Honey Bee Removal

    Honey bees are an incredible insect. Being a favorite of ours, Jim Dreisacker has kept honey bees and extracted honey for health food stores and local markets long before it became another pest for Westchester Wildlife LLC to remove.

    They are are better kept outside of your home, of course but when bees are desperate they find a way to make your wall a suitable hive! (See photos)

    As a protected species and a very important insect for our environment, we use a special vacuum to remove and relocate the bees safely.
  • Eastern Mole

    While you may never see these critters, you will most likely recognize their work.

    Moles dig small tunnels underground that gently push up the grass above ground. Your shoe may sink in to one of these soft spots before you notice they’ve dug tunnels across the entire lawn.

    One mole can tunnel an average of 20 yards per day. Each mole measures approximately 6 inches in length, they are a rather small mammal. They have very limited vision and hearing and are equipped with claws great for digging and a heightened sense of smell to guide them underground.
  • Groundhog or Woodchuck?

    Finally got a peak of who has been digging holes in your lawn? It seems the mid sized rodent is a “groundhog” according to your google search, but your husbands search landed him on “woodchuck.” They look identical. Well, which is it?!

    Both are correct. This mid sized rodent is a part of the marmot family and has gone by several names such as “groundhog”, “woodchuck”, “whistle pig” and even “land beaver.”

    They have gained popularity in North America as we have trusted them with the projection of a long winter or early spring, depending on if they are willing to come out of hibernation: “Groundhog Day.”

    There are 15 species of Marmot according to their region of either North America, Europe or Asia. While I can’t say how many other nicknames they have acquired across the world, you would be safe to refer to them as any of the above listed names when calling Westchester Wildlife LLC.

  • Squirrel Damage is all too real!

    Squirrels are desperate to get into your home this time of year…your home is probably pretty toasty, who can blame them?! However, when damage is done and squirrels are raiding your living room…we have a problem! Trust that Westchester Wildlife can humanely remove the squirrels and seal and repair the damage.

  • Have Bees Invaded Your Home?

    Brent Wallace, son of a homeowner in Spring, Texas, recently discovered the stuff of nightmares in his mother’s home. Fourteen years ago, Wallace noticed a hive of bees in the first story wall of the house and had it removed. Six months later, the bees returned.

  • 17 Species of Snake in New York

    There are 17 species of snake in New York. And they are all integral parts of their ecosystems. As prey for foxes and hawks and predators for rodents of all sorts, they are an irreplaceable link in New York food chains.

  • Got Bats? Give us a call at 800-273-6673

    Oh yes– it’s bat season!  Those things you seeing flying around your house at dusk are not birds– they’re bats!

    If you see a bat in your house, DO NOT TOUCH IT!   If you can, trap it in one room and give us a call.

  • Grey Squirrel Entry Point– Stamford, CT

Professional animal removal for residential and commercial properties in Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam Counties, NY and Fairfield County, CT.

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