Groundhogs are light to dark brown with short tails. They typically weigh between 2 to 4.5kg and grow to 45 cm in length.
Habits & Behaviours
Groundhogs are large rodents found throughout Ontario. They are active during the daytime hours in the spring, summer and fall and then hibernate during the winter. Groundhogs aren’t generally considered to be aggressive and most peopl don’t consider them to be nuisance animals or pests until one takes up residence on their property.
Although they can live in urban or rural areas, groundhogs are more likely found in areas with open ground and woodlands.
Complaints & Destruction
Groundhogs can doconsiderable damage to property. Although groundhogs are great swimmers and climbers, they are ground dwellers and the primary damage caused by groundhogs comes from their persistent burrowing nature. They can burrow extensive and complex tunnels 15 meters or more that contain several chambers, entrances, and exits. These burrows are where the groundhogs sleep, rear their young, and hibernate. Because the burrows can be so extensive, they pose significant risks to agricultural crops and can even compromise building foundations. Groundhog burrows in agricultural areas are a particular threat to farm equipment and animals.
Groundhogs prefer to dig their burrows against structures that provide overhead stability. Common burrowing sites are around foundations, under sheds and decks, against tree stumps, walls, patios, and anything with a concrete slab. The presence of large holes in the ground are the clearest indicator of a groundhog residing on your property.
Another concern with groundhogs is their eating and gnawing habits. They are herbivores and will consume almost any sort of vegetation. They can eat crops and can devastate both large scale agricultural harvests as well as your backyard gardens.
Major Risks & Dangers
Serious electrical and structural damages
If groundhogs burrow beneath a deck or near a foundation, they can gnaw on exterior structures and underground cables, which can result in serious and costly structural damages and electrical problems.
Serious destruction to land
Groundhogs’ extensive burrowing can result in serious injury and costly damage to yards, gardens, and fields.
There are no significant diseases related to groundhogs, however, they are known to carry parasites such as ticks.
Groundhogs mate immediately after hibernation ends in the early spring. The average gestation period is about 30 days and litters range from 3 to 6 young. The young are usually weaned and independent by 5 to 6 weeks after birth.
Groundhogs are herbivores and will consume almost any sort of vegetation.
To reduce the risk of groundhogs destroying your residential, recreational/cottage, or commercial property, exclusion is the best prevention.
Greenshield Pest Control Inc. can provide you with many exclusion solutions.
Attempting to trap a groundhog can be extremely tricky and difficult. If you suspect that a groundhog or a family of groundhogs may be dwelling on your residential, recreational/cottage, or commercial property, it is best to let the professionals safely and humanely remove the animal(s). Please contact us today or see our Wildlife Control Services section for further information on the types of services and solutions we can provide.
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