What do groundhogs eat?
Groundhogs could be classed as the original hibernators; their hibernation habits has led to Groundhog day tradition.
Groundhogs are also known as “woodchucks” or “whistle pigs” (Marmota monax) due to their habit of making a high-pitched whistling sound used to alert other groundhogs of danger. These animals can cause large damage to your property due to their chaotic eating habits. They also spend their time digging up your soil, creating holes all over your yard.
Homeowners across the United states constantly find themselves dealing with these animals as they dig burrows all over the yard and cause lots of damage to garden plants.
It’s important to first understand what type of animal a groundhog is before learning about what it eats. What do groundhogs eat to make them such a pain? We’ve broken down this question.
In this guide we shall cover plenty of ground (pun intended):
What Type Of Animal Is A Groundhog?
Groundhogs are actually large squirrels, weighing up to 15 pounds, and are the largest members of the squirrel family “Scicuridae”. They belong to the tribe of marmots or ground squirrels which also includes chipmunks.
Groundhogs are powerful diggers capable of making large, complex burrows. The average Groundhog is commonly known to feast during the summer to build up enough fat reserves to hibernate through winter. Makes sense right? Especially with that cuddly looking winter coat of theirs.
Groundhog mating season takes place in early spring, and their pregnancy is one month long. For these animals, their litter normally consists of two to six blind, hairless babies. Young ground hogs are called pups or kits, and reach sexual maturity by two years old. Their mothers spend time making sure these babies adapt to their environment. They normally live up to six years in the wild.
Why Are Groundhogs So Annoying?
Where Do Groundhogs Live?
So What Do Groundhogs Eat?
- Vegetation such as lettuce, clovers, dandelions, daises and also hackberry leaves
- Trees, especially bark and fallen twigs such as black cherry and dogwood
- Vegetables such as carrots, corn, peas, and beans
- Fruits such as berries, cherries, pears, and apples
- Insects such as grubs, snails, and grasshoppers, though this is less often
Groundhogs stay close to their homes
Groundhogs travel no further than 150 feet away from their home in search for something to eat. So these pesky animals will be in close proximity if you grow your own produce, as this we be the perfect food source for them.
Common signs of groundhogs normally include missing crops or plants that have been sharply cut at an angle. If you suspect that a groundhog is trespassing on your property and destroying your garden, consider contacting a pest control expert to assess the issue as soon as possible.
How To Protect Your Garden Areas From Groundhogs?
Follow these simple steps to help prevent ground hogs from ruining your garden:
- Install a fence at least 4ft high around your yard or veggies
- Spread a groundhog repellent around your yard
- Install an ultrasonic pest repeller in areas where you’ve seen a burrow
- Harvest crops as soon as they are ready
- Sprinkle red pepper on and around your plants
- You could also try tying a Mylar party balloon near their burrow to scare them away, acting as a natural form of pest control
Groundhogs have a remarkable climbing ability, but might be deterred by a high fence on their search for food. They don’t like humans and will actively avoid any area with a repellent, especially an electronic one. If you take away their food source, then they have no reason to come in.
Furthermore, they don’t like the taste of red pepper and won’t want to eat any plants sprinkled with it (Remember to wash this off before you eat them). Finally, because the Mylar balloon is reflective, it’s been found to deter these pests, as it scares them.
Can Groundhogs Bother People?
It’s not unknown for them to be repelled by the smell of humans. There’s articles where people have left scented objects like clothing covered in perfume near burrow openings to scare them away.
Are My Pets In Danger?
This could be potentially dangerous, as groundhogs are known to carry rabies. If your pet is bitten by a groundhog (or any other animal) take it to see a vet for treatment as soon as possible.
Be sure to follow our helpful tips and advice to prevent a pesky groundhogs from destroying your garden and eating your vegetables. We hope this guide was useful to you, and for more guides, check below.
Other Pest Guides
Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively.