They provide food for predators, including hawks, owls, coyotes, and eagles. In the summer and fall groundhogs increase their … Groundhogs are coming into your area to find food and look for a safe place to make their home. They can remove up to seven hundred pounds of soil, and dig almost 40 feet long burrows. Groundhogs are 18 to 24 inches long with a tail that’s 7 to 10 inches. They spend a fair amount of time underground, and even raise their young in burrows. Keen eyesight and hearing help warn them of danger. Remove any tree trunks or other sources of wood that groundhogs can gnaw or grind their teeth on. However, they also can be found in woodlands, on abandoned farms, and occasionally in suburban areas where the combination of food and cover provides satisfactory habitat. Generally solitary animals, groundhogs prefer to live alone in their own home territory. Groundhogs hibernate in winter, during which time they do not stir from their burrows. Their burrows, in which groundhogs spend most of their time, can be 50 feet long. Groundhogs do have strong teeth, and their overactive chewing can cause real damage to a home or whatever items are on your property. If the pups get hungry enough, they may burrow out of their den to find her, and you may find yourself ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the cute, hairless creatures. A woodchuck burrow will often have one main entrance and one emergency escape entrance or spy-hole. Groundhog Diet. It is common for groundhogs to build burrow systems in urban and suburban backyards. Groundhogs usually use the dug burrows for sleeping, hibernating or raising their young ones. Young woodchucks like the one seen in the photo below often occupy abandoned burrows. Groundhogs spend most of their time in their underground burrows, which have one main entrance that can be identified by a large mountain of excavated soil immediately outside the entrance hole. While they prefer to use the abandoned holes of other burrowing pests, skunks may also opt to make their dens under decks, porches, and sheds. When a groundhog dies or moves to another territory their abandoned burrows do not go to waste. They can also scale trees to escape a threat. Groundhogs are significantly bigger than gophers, which rarely exceed two pounds. As woodchuck offspring prepare to leave the nest, additional holes will appear in lawns. While groundhogs mostly subsist on a plant-based diet, they are still omnivores and will eat insects or small animals. Groundhogs are extensive burrowers, building complex underground tunnels and dens in well-drained soil. Most of the time groundhogs dig their burrows in areas with nearby cover such as fencerows, hedgerows, beside structures, home foundations or trees. They are not typically aggressive but do have the tools to defend themselves if threatened. Evicting from a property or residence . The First Thing to Do Before Getting Rid of Groundhogs. They are quite adept at it. If there’s one thing you can count on a woodchuck to do, it’s burrow. Appearance. Each opening is between 10 and 12 inches in diameter. The tiny, feeble young are born in the burrows after a gestation period of 30–32 days. Once you have located the holes, check their activity by filling them with dirt and soil. Although they are considered herbivores, they sometimes eat insects (less than 1% of the time). Instead, groundhogs go through bouts of "torpor," when their body temperature drops to about five degrees Celsius, he says. Blocking groundhog holes. However, during the warmer spring and summer months, the day is spent in their cool burrows and feeding occurs during the very early morning and at dusk. They usually do not cause any significant damage with their tunneling and in many cases the best thing to do is leave them be. Woodchucks are typically daytime animals. S. M. Kriebel/Flickr / CC BY 2.0 13. Groundhogs, or woodchucks, frequently burrow under sheds and decks. Groundhogs can breed in their first year of life, but most start after their first year. The litter size averages 3–5 pups, which emerge from the den at about 33 days and are weaned at about 42 days. They are especially attracted to; peas, beans and melons. During early spring, groundhogs are most active during the warm parts of the day. Groundhogs begin hibernation mid October and emerge in February. They dig their burrows with the help of their powerful limbs and thick claws. Groundhogs usually have one litter per year that averages four or five young born in April. You can make your yard look less attractive to them so they will look someplace else. Trim back plants groundhogs may eat or use for cover. If you have a woodchuck burrow on your property and don't have any conflicts with its occupants we say—let it be. Because they hibernate, they instead consume as much food as possible so they can rely on fat stores during the colder months. Remove Food Sources Predators. Skunk dens are used by adults when they give birth to young in the spring and also to avoid cold weather in the winter. Woodchucks, also known as "groundhogs", are well-known for their habitat of excavating burrows and sitting upright next to them.Description: This medium-sized mammal has a stout body. In general, woodchucks prefer to construct their burrows in open farmland and wooded or brushy areas adjacent to open land. The only time groundhogs socialize is during mating season, in early spring, but many males will actually leave their burrows in February and March to visit the dens of females in their territory. Their burrows are quite elaborate, with a main entrance, at least one “spyhole,” a nesting area and a separate toilet chamber. Typically, you will find two main chambers; the nesting chamber whose main function is sleeping and also raising their young ones and an extreme chamber that is used as toiletry. In the burrow. Groundhogs eat approximately 1/3 of their weight in vegetation each day. Beyond their large size, groundhogs have several successful anti-predator behaviors, usually retreating to the safety of their burrow which most predators will not attempt to enter, but also being ready to fight any of those who press the attack off with their sharp claws and large incisors. All groundhog burrows are basically laid out in the same way. They can create an extensive network of tunnels that can undermine the stability of the structure. retreat into their burrows. This is the largest member of the Sciuridae (Squirrel) Family the Woodchuck occurs all across Tennessee.   The same den is also used for mating (which occurs just after hibernation ends) and raising young. As the burrows of groundhogs have one main entrance and up to four exits, you need to spot them in your backyard. They can first breed as yearlings (i.e., in their second summer), however, only 20–40% of female yearlings do breed. Their abandoned burrows can become homes for other wildlife, such as foxes, skunks, and rabbits. However, they are not safe out in the open, and you should do everything you can to make sure they burrow back down into their den or another den made by another groundhog. Unlike gophers, groundhogs do not carry food in their cheeks and store it in burrows. The burrow also has one to four auxiliary entrances. Groundhogs are known to keep their burrows clean by lining the bottom with dry grass. Unless they're raising young, groundhogs live alone. If you are gardening; harvest your crops as early as possible. In addition to raising their young, groundhogs use their burrows to escape predators and other threats, for sleeping and for hibernating. Their dens are important for other animals too; red foxes, gray foxes, opossums, raccoons, and skunks often take up residence in homes built by groundhogs. People and woodchucks can coexist for years without conflict. Groundhogs are true hibernators; they enter hibernation in either late September or October and don’t emerge until March. Locate the trap as close to a burrow entrance as possible; Always wear thick leather gloves when dealing with a trapped groundhog to prevent scratches and bites ; Set traps during the morning and afternoon when groundhogs are active. Groundhogs are found in open pastures, woodlots, fields, ditches, and roadsides. Summer burrows are often constructed near the middle of the home territory, while winter burrows are dug deep enough to stay below frost levels and are usually located near protective cover. If you block the entrances with wire fencing, they won’t be able to get back in, increasing the odds that they’ll simply move onto another option.


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