Groundhog Facts

Groundhogs, also called woodchucks, are large rodents. They are also one of the 14 species of marmot, or ground squirrels, and they are the largest members of the squirrel family. From head to rump, groundhogs are 17.75 to 24 inches (45 to 61 centimeters) long. They weigh around 13 lbs. (6 kilograms), which is about twice the average weight of a newborn human baby. Like other squirrels, groundhogs have long tails that grow around 7 to 9.75 in (18 to 25 cm) long.

Groundhogs also have sharp claws that they use to dig impressive burrows in the ground. During the warm months, a groundhog's incisors grow about a sixteenth of an inch (1.6 millimeters) each week to keep up with their frenzied eating schedule.

Signs

Groundhogs are known for damaging crops and gardens, so this is a key sign that you may have a problem. Typically groundhogs stick close to home, usually they don't wander farther than 50 to 150 feet from their den during the daytime. Groundhogs are solitary creatures and they spend their summers and falls stuffing themselves and taking naps in the sun. They can eat about a pound of food per sitting and in the winter, they hibernate. While hibernating, groundhogs don't eat instead they use the fat they built up over the summer and winter months for energy. During hibernation, a groundhog's heartbeat slows from 80 beats per minute to 5 beat per minute; their respiration reduces from 16 breaths per minute to as few as 2 breaths per minute; and their body temperature drops from about 99 degrees F to as low as 37 degrees F (2.77 C), according to the National Wildlife Federation.

What is the Habitat and Diet of a Groundhog?

Groundhogs can be found only in North America, from Canada down to the southern United States. They dig burrows that can be 6 feet (1.8 meters) deep, and 20 feet (6 m) wide, these underground homes can also have two to a dozen entrances. Groundhogs like to woodland areas that are closely to open, greasy fields, typically, they have a burrow in the woods for the winter and a burrow in grassy areas for the warmer months. These rodents are herbivores, which means they eat vegetation. A groundhog's diet can include fruit, plants, tree bark and grasses.

Pest Tips

Groundhogs rarely come in contact with humans and therefore pose no major public health hazards; however, they are capable of carrying fleas, ticks and rabies. Groundhogs can be trapped using our Kage-All® Small Animal Trap.

When trapping a groundhog there are a lot of things to consider, but following these trapping tips may help simplify the process.

Place your trap near the burrow or area that the groundhog frequently visits. Then bait the trap, many people have had great success using sunflower seeds, peanut butter and corn, however cantaloupe is often the preferred bait. Once the trap is placed with your bait, avoid transferring your scent to the trap by wearing gloves. After you've caught the groundhog, cover the cage with a blanket to keep the animal calm while you transport it away from your home.

Available from Kness

Kage All® Small Animal Trap Products Kage All® Small Animal Trap

Kage-All® Small Animal Traps are custom designed to trap live animals such as chipmunks, rats, weasels, squirrels, skunks, muskrats, rabbits, cats, raccoons opossums, porcupines, woodchucks, armadillos, foxes and groundhogs.

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