The Groundhog and Woodchuck are common terms for the same animal, and in some areas known as a land-beaver oror whistle-pig, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. Most closely related to squirrels, woodchucks actually can climb trees and also swim.
Groundhogs are covered with two coats of fur: a dense grey undercoat and a longer coat of banded guard hairs that gives the groundhog its distinctive “frosted” appearance.
Groundhogs in the wild eat succulent green plants, such as dandelion greens, clover, plantain and grasses. They also are tempted by nearby garden vegetables. Woodchucks purposefully put on weight in the summer, reaching their maximum mass in late August. They become lethargic and prepare for hibernation in October. By February, hibernating woodchucks have lost as much as half their body weight.
Groundhogs hibernate from October through February, and their breeding season begins soon after they wake up. If you must evict a groundhog from a burrow under your house, porch, or other building, do so shortly after they’ve emerged from hibernation or wait until late summer, after the young have been weaned and are living on their own.
Celestially speaking, Groundhog Day on February 2 is a “cross-quarter” day, about halfway between the winter solstice in December and the vernal equinox in March, and is celebrated in some cultures as the midpoint of winter. It’s not far from the time many groundhogs end their hibernation anyway, around the second week of February.
How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? About 700 pounds. Compared to beavers, groundhogs-woodchucks are not adept at moving timber, although some will chew wood.
The best method is trapping and removal. If you simply block off their holes, they will dig them out again. They can’t be poisoned. They can be live trapped in cage traps or caught in lethal body grip traps.
Many people try various repellents to get rid of groundhogs, however, none of these are effective. The only sure means of woodchuck control is trapping and removal.
Using live traps to get rid of groundhogs without harming them is perhaps your best form of direct groundhog control. Trapping groundhogs isn’t easy- unless you know where their high traffic areas are.
Call Westchester Wildlife for safe and humane Groundhog removal in Westchester, Dutchess and Fairfield Counties.
If you have any problem regarding wildlife, please contact us or call at (800) 273-6673.