• Is It Bad To Have A Groundhog In Your Yard?

    Have you just spotted a groundhog in your yard and wondering if you should worry? The short answer is YES, you should.

    Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are aggressive animals that are hard to get rid of when they invade your property. These rodents usually dig burrows in grassy areas and eat through gardens causing a lot of damage.

    They can also cause serious structural damage through burrowing. In addition, they carry ticks and fleas which can pass diseases like Powassan and Lyme to pets and humans.

    Once they invade your yard, it can be really hard to eliminate them on your own because they are very aggressive. Thus, it is always the best option to contact an experienced pest and wildlife specialist who’s got the tools and knowledge to deal with your groundhog problem.

    How Do You Tell If You Have A Groundhog Active In Your Yard?

    Common signs of damage that indicate groundhogs are active in your yard include:

    – Raised ridges crisscrossing your yard will be easily visible

    – You will notice raised, multiple mounds of dirt in your yard. These mounds resemble volcano-like swellings and are the entrance and exit of groundhog holes in the ground

    – If you spot areas in your yard that feel squishy or the soil is very loose

    – If you realize that some areas in your yard have dead or discolored grass that follows a specific path

    Other damages that groundhogs are likely to cause include damage to the grass, tearing of tree roots, and flower bed damage. These damages will make your yard look unsightly!

    What Attracts Groundhogs To The Yard?

    As expected, the main thing that attracts groundhogs to your yard is food. These animals are herbivores and mainly feed on plant matter.

    Their favorite foods are alfalfa and clover but they feed nearly on any plants such as grass; weeds; dandelion greens; herbs; fruits like strawberries or blueberries; vegetables like cucumber, green beans, corn, or lettuce.

    Groundhogs feed a lot to gain enough weight that will sustain them during hibernation. Therefore, when they invade, they will eat anything that they come across in order to gain enough weight that will sustain them during the winter season, and in the process, they will leave a lot of damage. That is why you need to be worried when you spot them in your backyard.

     

    Groundhogs can also skillfully climb trees, fences, and walls. They will climb mainly to escape predators and in search of food. Find out how to prevent them from damaging your yard and keep them out for good!

     

     

    How Do Groundhogs Dig Holes In The Ground?

    Groundhogs spend most of their time in underground burrows which can be as long as 6 feet deep. These underground burrows usually have dozens of entrances and exits. That is why it is very difficult to trap a groundhog if you lack the necessary knowledge and experience.

    When digging inward for several feet, they incline the tunnel upward for a few feet. They will then proceed to dig horizontally for 15-25 feet to prevent the tunnel from flooding in case it rains.

    Groundhogs are very clean animals. From their main tunnel, they usually dig another tunnel just a few feet apart, which is exclusively used as a latrine. Once one latrine is full, they usually seal it off and dig another latrine elsewhere.

    The main burrow is used for raising children, sleeping, and hiding.

    What Month Do Groundhogs Come Out?

    Groundhogs are typically most active during early spring. This is because the weather is usually ideal for them during this time.

    During the warmer spring and summer months, they spend most of their time sheltering in their cool burrows and only come out to feed in the early morning and evening when temperatures have dropped.

    They usually start to hibernate from mid-October all the way to February. By the time they start hibernating, they need to have gained a minimum weight of seven pounds in order to survive.

    Are Groundhogs Aggressive To Humans?

    It is very rare for groundhogs to attack humans. However, when they feel threatened or when they feel that their babies are in danger, they may attack.

    A few cases of groundhogs attacking humans have been reported but injuries are not that serious. However, in some cases, the injury can be fatal, especially if they carry rabies.

    Due to the damage they cause, it’s important to remove groundhogs from your property as soon as you notice any signs of their activity. Contact Westchester Wildlife today and let us help rid you of groundhog problems efficiently and safely.

    Our team of licensed technicians has the skills and tools necessary to carry out a humane wildlife control and removal from your property. Our humane groundhog removal services are the best way to keep your home safe from the potentially destructive actions of these wild animals.

    So don’t wait until woodchucks have completely ruined your lawn to seek help. Trust our team of experts at Westchester Wildlife for all of your groundhog removal and control needs by calling now!

     

     

  • 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”.

     

    If you want to learn more about what exactly attracts groundhogs to your yard and what damage they can cause, check out our blog post.

     

    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.