Marmota Monax — better known as the groundhog, woodchuck or whistlepig – can be found throughout the United States from Alaska to Alabama. Ubiquitous in the yards, roadways and fields of nearly half the United States woodchucks can often be a nuisance to homeowners and farmers. Here are some interesting facts about the woodchuck.
Fat and Sleepy
Woodchucks are active during the day and return to their burrows at night. They are true hibernators, putting on extra body weight in the late summer and then sleeping from roughly October to March. Woodchucks are omnivores and will occasionally snack on a grub or other insect, but they rely on grasses, fruits and nuts to give them a rich fat reserve that will last through the coldest months of winter. According to Suzie Prange, a wildlife research biologist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, “They’ll also eat crops and ornamental plants, and a lot of people don’t know they can actually climb trees quite well to eat cherries, apples and other fruits.”
Harm Caused By Woodchucks
Though generally non-aggressive animals a woodchuck in your yard or garden can cause damage to your property and your person. Woodchucks live in dens and tunnels beneath your yard and their entry and exit holes can cause sprained ankles and even broken bones if accidentally stepped in. Additionally, if your pet dog spies a woodchuck and chases it a violent confrontation can occur if the woodchuck becomes trapped and unable to access its den for safety.
Though woodchucks will eat almost any kind of plant, they do have favorites, many of which may be the vegetables you grow in your garden such as:
- carrot greens
or your ornamental and fruit trees like:
- Flowering Dogwood
- Black Cherry
Some of the plants that woodchucks may stay away from include:
How to Get Rid of Woodchucks
As mentioned above, woodchucks are commonly non-aggressive animals and are the target of predators including hawks and fox. A woodchuck’s most effective defense when it senses a threat near by is to run to its closest tunnel and hide out underground.
Though woodchucks can move quickly when they need to and rarely stray far from the nearest entrance to their dens, leveraging their natural fear of predators is an effective strategy for getting rid of them. Using an all natural woodchuck repellent like Shake-Away granules provides a powerful, easy to apply and long lasting method of convincing a woodchuck that its territory has become the home of a predator and that the safest response is to vacate the area.
By sprinkling Shake-Away Woodchuck Repellent granules around the area you wish to protect as well as in and near entrances to the woodchuck’s den creates the illusion that the space has been marked by a fox. In response, the woodchuck moves to a less threatening area, all without harm to the woodchuck, your lawn or your family.