The sight of a woodchuck (groundhog) in your garden could spell disaster instead of spring. That’s right a woodchuck or a groundhog may be deep in tradition as the animal that by merely looking at its shadow can predict how long a winter will be and at the Groundhog Day ceremony that is a lot of fun. When a woodchuck or groundhog decides to make a home on your property, and nothing is done to remove it, you may want the snow to stay longer just so it can cover up the signs that the animal will leave behind. Even if you do not see the woodchuck you will definitely notice the clues it leaves and then you can take the steps necessary to make sure it does not come back.
Know The Signs: You may not notice that a woodchuck has made a home in your yard in the winter because they hibernate. The woodchuck will not leave its burrow during this time, but you will be able to get a better glimpse during the spring and when you do your woodchuck may not be alone. The springtime is mating season for groundhogs. It is also the time when they raise their young, so to have one woodchuck leaves open the possibility of a colony. A woodchuck's burrow is recognized because of its double entry/exit system. The animal is smart enough to have a regular entrance which it uses most of the time and in case it needs to make a quick exit it also has another one; a type of emergency exit system, very clever for a pest rodent.
These holes they leave all around a yard can cause hazards. People and pets can step into them twisting or breaking a limb. They can also damage foundations of structures if they build a den their foundation. When cornered these animals can become quite aggressive and will lash out. If a person has a garden the woodchuck will certainly help itself to anything grown.
How To Get Rid Of Them: If you have thought that the groundhogs have moved away in the summer do not be fooled, they will sometimes have different burrows for the summer months. So if you do discover that there is a problem with woodchucks on your yard there are a few things that you can do. The first would be to install motion sensors. Woodchucks, like other wildlife want a place where they do not have to live in constant fear. If every time they go outside the burrow a light goes on, that may make it nervous enough to stay away. You can also install a fence in your garden; it should go below ground some as well. If the woodchuck does not have access to food it will probably move to another place. Those are things that you can do yourself while others you may need a professional for.
Get Help: Live trapping is something that you will need help with as it is something that can be difficult and sometimes even dangerous for yourself and the animal. A professional will be able to take preventive measures so that neither you nor the woodchuck gets injured, and most of the time will take the animal for release in a more appropriate area. When trapping these animals it’s important to know exactly where to place the traps in order to make it easier and faster. With live trapping there is the chance that the trapped animal will not be the one that you are looking for, so trapping may also take a little bit of patience. Some people will try to gas the woodchucks out, but that is never a good idea because you can damage your garden and in some areas it is actually illegal. The best word of advice for removing these animals is to consider trapping and to be prepared with multiple traps.
We are the Pest Education Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on wildlife and pest removal education. Our approach utilizes Integrated Pest Management, a strategy advocating prevention and humane methods.