Woodchucks (Marmota monad), more commonly known as the “ground hog,” are field dwelling animals that thrive on a diet of clover, alfalfa, and grasses in the wild but have no problem dining on your garden vegetables to fulfill their needs. Active primarily during the early morning and late afternoon hours, woodchucks are excellent at digging burrows, some of which can be 25 to 30 feet in length, that they use for safety and shelter. Towards the end of summer you may notice woodchuck damage to your garden occurring more frequently. This is due to the fact that woodchucks are true winter hibernators and their instinct to “fatten up” comes with a heavy increase in their diet. In addition to being excellent at burrowing and feeling at home primarily on the ground, woodchucks are able to climb and are good swimmers. Both climbing and swimming aid the woodchuck in it’s uncanny ability to avoid predators such as coyotes, fox, bears, hawks, owls, bobcats, mink, weasels and more.
Woodchuck activity can also attract other nuisance wildlife to your property. Abandoned woodchuck burrows are a welcome sign for skunks, raccoons, fox, rabbits, opossums, weasels and snakes and are potentially used as dens and shelter sites for these animals.
Woodchuck damage can be permanent and dangerous. In addition to damaging crops, gardens, and ornamental trees & shrubs, woodchuck holes can be dangerous for horses, livestock, yard or farm equipment, and even people. If you suspect you have woodchucks causing damage on your property, please give PAWS a call at 860-840-3237.