Category Archives: Groundhogs

Recognizing When You Have A Groundhog

Punxsutawney Phil says that we can expect to have six more weeks of winter.  Now is the time to start thinking about how you will keep those chubby whiskered fur balls from ruining your beautiful gardens come springtime.

Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks and whistle pigs.  They are mostly afraid of humans and rarely carry rabies.   They are solitary creatures who only interact with other groundhogs during mating and rearing their young.  As with all wildlife, you should be sure to keep your distance and admire them from afar.

Here are a few things to keep an eye out for that will help you identify if you have a groundhog living nearby.  You may notice that you have a 10” to 12” hole that appears in the ground under your shed or in your yard.  The hole will always have mounds of dirt on the outside from the burrow being dug on the inside.

Groundhogs are known for their eating capabilities.  If you notice a good size bite taken out of vegetables in your garden, there is a good chance that you have groundhog living among you.  For a quick meal, groundhogs are known to eat the plants above the ground, but they will not hesitate to pull up your veggies that are growing nicely below the ground as well.

Another sign that you have a groundhog is the gnawing at the bottom of trees.  Like other rodents, groundhogs need to file down their teeth.  The bottoms of trees provide a great way to accomplish this task.

Please check back soon for information on how to keep groundhogs away from your home.  You might just need a wildlife control specialist to get rid of your groundhog!

What Is A Groundhog?

Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks.  Groundhogs are rodents that are a member of the squirrel family.  They can be found in many rural locations like fields, pastures, ditches, and storm drainage pipes.  Groundhogs can also be found in residential areas under homes, patios, stored lumber, under decks and even in garages.    These unassuming creatures are typically afraid of humans.   The main problem that people have with groundhogs is that they eat a broad range of vegetation and make large burrows.

Groundhogs will hibernate from October until sometime in February.  Once they emerge from their slumber, they have only two things on their mind…eating and mating.  Groundhogs will dig an extensive burrow system (about 2-4 feet underground and 15 – 25 feet horizontally) and travel for the most part underground.  You will find them most active in the early morning and late afternoon hours during feeding time.  A groundhog can weigh between 4-14 pounds.  They have a ferocious appetite for many types of vegetation.  An adult groundhog will consume 1 ½ pounds of vegetation per day.

Once a groundhog has taken up residence, they are hard to get rid of.  Even if they leave a burrow, it is not uncommon for a groundhog to return over and over to decide if they want to move back in.  These return visits canhappen for up to 2 years after they leave a burrow.

Most people find that they need a wildlife control specialist to send groundhogs packing for good.

Beware the Groundhog

Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow and ducked back into his burrow for six more weeks of snooze time, but groundhogs in New York, NYC, Manhattan and New Jersey are starting to emerge from their dens. After their long winter’s nap, they’re hungry and your tulip garden looks mighty tasty.

If tulip time comes around and all you see is a few green stems sprouting from last year’s unraked leaves, blame it on the groundhog. Members of the squirrel family, groundhogs can chew through a garden in one feeding. The proficient tunnelers can even attack your garden from underneath, feasting on bulbs that will never get their day in the sun. Voracious feeders, groundhogs eat nearly two pounds of vegetation a day, generally feeding in early morning and evening.

Once established, groundhogs can be tough to get rid of. You certainly don’t want to try to remove them from their den yourself. They’ll take a taciturn view of your efforts and since they carry rabies you should be circumspect about bearding the proverbial groundhog in his den. This is a job for the pros. Call Stern; we’re your groundhog removal experts. Our experts use humane trapping methods, and we offer 24-hour emergency service. Click here to find out more about our groundhog removal services

Raccoons and Rabies: What is the Danger?

Rabies is regarded by most of us as a very scary disease that makes you crazy, makes you foam at the mouth, and then kills you. Raccoons have a bad reputation for being carriers of rabies. Although there is no doubt that raccoons, like people, can get rabies, they are not necessarily more susceptible to it than your dog. If a raccoon, or any animal for that matter get rabies (except humans that can receive shots to prevent the disease from taking its ultimate course) it will die.

Rabies is a virus. It can only be transferred from one mammal to another during a very short contagious stage when the animal is close to death. You can detect an animal with rabies if you see it acting very aggressively for no reason, acting confused and walking in circles, possibly dragging its legs partially paralyzed, or foaming at the mouth. It is in the animal’s saliva by which rabies is most frequently transferred.

Just because you see a raccoon walking around in the daytime does not mean it is rabid, unless it is showing these other symptoms. It is probably just hungry or can’t sleep. If an animal looks and is acting healthy, then it probably is.

In terms of being able to get rabies from a raccoon, that is pretty rare and there have been only less than a handful of reported cases in which raccoons have given rabies to humans. Rabies is most often reported in raccoons, as opposed to skunks, foxes, groundhogs, and bats which also are susceptible, because raccoons are more likely to live close to humans. So we tend to see them more than other wild animals. Squirrels, chipmunks, mice, rats, and rabbits can sometimes get rabies, but this is not very common and there are no reported cases where these animals have transmitted the disease to humans.

Nocturnal ‘Gardeners’ Can Destroy Lawn

While I appreciate the gardening help, I do wish they’d be a little more careful. Aerating your lawn is a healthy thing to do every few years. It loosens compacted soil and gives plant and tree roots more room to breathe and absorb nutrients. As kids we used to help Dad aerate the lawn by sticking long-bladed garden forks into the ground, wiggling them around a bit and moving up a step to do it again … and again … and again … and again … and, well, you get the picture. It was like a game of Mother May I that never went anywhere.

The finer points of lawn aeration seem to be lost on the neighborhood raccoon crew that has decided to help me out. Every morning I wake up to find another swath of dirt stretching across my backyard. Sometimes the sod is expertly peeled back to expose the tasty grubs the animals are looking for and is easily replaced. More often, chunks of sod are torn apart and overturned with dirt making an impossible jigsaw puzzle of my lawn. No amount of grub control insecticide seems to deter them. A grub or two always seems to survive, renewing the raccoons’ hopes for a tasty feast. My yard retains its 5-star rating in the raccoon Michelin Guide!

Raccoons, opossums, skunks, woodchucks and other wild animals can become real pests when they try to muscle in on your lawn or garden. When you spend hours sweating in the yard and hundreds of dollars on Weed ‘n’ Feed, Turf Builder, mulch, plants, bulbs and seeds, you tend to get a little possessive about your turf and a wee bit cranky when nighttime bandits steal in and tear it up for a midnight snack. Time to call in the pros.

If nuisance wildlife has made a home in your yard or home, call the professionals at Stern Environmental Group. Don’t let the destruction, disease and midnight snack attacks they bring with them make your life miserable. Our expert technicians can rout out these dangerous unwanted guests and stop their destruction of your home, returning your yard to the peaceful oasis you always wanted.

Stern Environmental Group offers a full range of effective pest management and pest control services. Visit our website for complete information, and click the post title for more information about our wildlife control services. You’ll sleep better tonight when you get “Stern” with your pests.