Woodchucks and gophers are commonly enemies of gardeners. They each feed on vegetation and uproot your tubers and bulbs while digging their underground network of tunnels. They also pose a menace by gnawing on electric wires. Both these creatures belong to the marmot family, and thus, are quite similar in appearance. You need to be able to differentiate between woodchucks and gophers, so that you can follow appropriate steps to keep each of them out of your garden. Read on to find out their distinctive features and habits.
Woodchucks are also called groundhogs, land beavers or whistle-pigs. They are large, strong creatures weighing between 4 and 9 pounds, and measuring 15 to 25 inches in length, including a short, furry tail. Their dense gray fur is covered by another layer of banded guard hairs. Woodchucks have the characteristically long incisors of rodents, although their white teeth do not show through their closed mouth. These critters are excellent swimmers, which helps them flee from predators.
Woodchucks mainly have a vegetarian diet, but they sometimes eat birds’ eggs and insects. These creatures are quite aggressive in nature. When coyotes, foxes, wolves, bobcats or bears are around, woodchucks stand on their hind legs outside their burrow to signal impending danger to other woodchucks. They hibernate in their burrows all winter long. They breed from the second year of life, with only one litter of 2 to 6 young ones per year.
Gophers are of various types. The pocket gopher or “true” gopher is the most common variety found in North America. It measures only up to 12 inches in length and a few hundred grams in weight, and its long tail resembles that of a rat. Its body is covered by a coat of brown fur. Gophers have excessively protruding yellowish teeth that are visible even when their mouth is shut. They use their large, fur-lined cheeks as pouches. These animals are not very comfortable in water, and often drown if their burrows get flooded.
Gophers feed on weeds, roots, grains, nuts, seeds, berries and insects. The small size of a gopher makes it easy prey for cats, dogs, snakes, owls, hawks, coyotes, skunks and badgers. Gophers are shy creatures, and simply run away from danger. Gophers do not hibernate in winter, but move about actively in search of food. They breed several times a year right from their first year, with anywhere between 2 and 5 young ones per litter.
Repellent Strategies for Woodchucks and Gophers
Woodchucks and gophers are a big nuisance in the garden, and need to be kept away so that your vegetation and flowering plants are safe. Shake Away Woodchuck Repellent contains granules infused with the urine of the woodchuck’s predators. This scent instills deep fear in the critter, and it runs away from the seemingly unsafe property. Use this repellent to keep your precious garden free of woodchucks.
Shake Away Gopher Repellent is an all-natural product. Its granules have the scent of the fox, who is a gopher’s most feared predator. When the granules are sprinkled around the garden or yard, they scare the small critter into believing that the territory has been marked by the fox. This repellent works well in driving out gophers from your garden. Use these Shake Away small critter repellents to effectively protect your garden from woodchucks and gophers.