What is the difference between Gophers, Woodchucks, and Groundhogs?
It’s now near the planting season and one of the common garden
problems you may soon be facing are highly aggressive members of the Marmot family. Yes, marmots that not only creep and eat vegetation, but also burrow holes and nests that destroy the entire garden. Common culprits of destroying your lovely garden are gophers, woodchucks and groundhogs. These animals may look alike at a glance, but they do have distinct characteristics. You may think that you’re dealing with gophers, when all the while you are battling with a groundhog. It is necessary to identify their differences so that you know exactly what must be done to keep these pests at bay.
Gophers are small creatures nearly the size of a squirrel. They are about 6 inches in length, have a 7-inch tail, and weigh about 0.5lbs depending on the type of gopher species you’re looking at. They have brown to tan colored fur, and usually live within grass prairies or woodlands.
Gophers are small, burrowing holes and tunnels beneath the soil. In general, there are three types of gophers: the pocket gopher or true gophers, the ground squirrel, and some species of prairie dog. Adorable as they may be, they are considered as pests because they can destroy gardens, farms, and even gnaw at underground cable wires.
You know you are harboring a gopher if you see a mound of dirt within or near your garden. If you find one gopher, there’s a great possibility that you already have a colony beneath your garden as gophers burrow their own little subterranean town full of tunnels and holes.
Gophers usually eat grass, berries, nuts, seeds, grains and insects, but they can also eat plant roots if no other food is available. Once they are done eating all of the succulent vegetation on your land, you may be left with a stretch of land that’s barren and totally in need of serious rehabilitation. Further below are some strategies for how to get rid of gophers.
Groundhogs are also known as a woodchucks or land beavers by some. They belong to a class of large ground squirrels commonly known as marmots, and they only live in low-lying areas.
Groundhogs are larger than gophers, reaching to a size of 15-26 inches and weighs 4.4-8.8 lbs. They have two sets of fur to help keep them warm; the first layer is a dense, grayish undercoat, and the second layer is longer coat made up of band hairs that give them that distinct frosted look. Their limbs are shorter but are very efficient and powerful diggers because of their curved and thick claws.
And just like gophers, groundhogs or woodchucks can dig a network of tunnels running to about 46 feet in length. Aside from grubs, insects, and grasshoppers, groundhogs also eat berries, wild grass, and several agricultural crops. Below are some effective woodchuck repellents that are easy to use.
Keeping Gophers and Groundhogs Away from Your Garden
Keeping gophers and groundhogs away from your garden and farm can be done in several ways. One is to stand on guard and visit your garden regularly throughout the day. Burrowers that they are, woodchucks are scared of lights, so installing light fixtures with motion sensors as well as sprinklers and alarms can make your garden a really scary place for them.
Another effective and less tedious method is to use organic critter repellents such as all-natural Shake Away Small Critter Repellent. Because these small creatures have their own share of natural predators, “marking” your garden with these predators’ scent will make gophers and groundhogs think twice before burrowing their colony underneath. Just sprinkle the Shake-Away and the bothersome animals will stay away from your prized vegetation.
Recovering and rehabilitating your garden because of gophers and groundhogs is very costly compared to utilizing measures that will prevent them from harming and destroying your plants. Knowing their features and their landmark will help you to know when and where you should exact measures to keep these pests away from your garden.