Groundhogs (also known as woodchucks, marmots, or “whistlepigs” in south) are large rodents found throughout North America. They are related to the squirrel and are the in fact the largest members of the squirrel family. Most people do not view groundhogs as a nuisance; that is, until one digs a whole in their yard and starts tearing up the garden! Only when its too late do most people come to see the destructive potential of the groundhog. While groundhogs are found in urban or rural areas, they prefer locations where there is lots of open ground or adjacent farm land. They are plentiful in Wyoming and northern Colorado and are some of the region’s most common animal pests.
Groundhogs are capable of doing considerable damage to property. This primarily comes from their incessant burrowing. Groundhogs use these burrows to rest, raise their young, and hibernate. The burrow complex can be very extensive, sometimes boasting five entrances and close to 50 feet of tunnels. Depths vary, but the average burrow is five feet underground. Because these burrows are so vast they pose a real risk to crops. They can even undermine the foundations of buildings (for example, see this article). Agricultural areas are especially at risk, as burrows under farm equipment can cause wheels to sink and become stuck. Farm animals have broken their legs by tripping in groundhog dens.
Whenever possible, groundhogs prefer to construct burrows against structures for overhead stability. In Colorado and Wyoming, common burrowing sites are around foundations, under sheds and decks, against tree stumps, boulders, retaining walls, under brick pavers, patios and anything with a concrete slab. It is not difficult to figure out if you have a groundhog: their burrows are easily identifiable, looking like large holes in the ground with piles of dirt thrown up around them.
Another concern with groundhogs is their voracious appetites. Groundhogs are rodents, and like mice, are constantly gnawing. They will consume almost any sort of vegetation, including wild grass, leaves, fruits, bark, roots, crab apples and flower gardens. They will also feed on crops and can wreak havoc on large scale agricultural operations as well as devastate your little vegetable garden. If their burrow is located beneath beneath a deck or foundation they will gnaw underground cables, causing electrical problems and headaches for the homeowner.
The basic procedure for groundhog removal is simple, but it does require attention to detail and consistent maintenance. Successful groundhog trapping is requires eliminating other nearby sources of food, which can be a challenge since groundhogs are such diverse herbivores. This challenge is compounded by the the fact that groundhogs are naturally suspicious of traps (they often have to be camouflaged) and that bait needs to be kept continually fresh and the difficulties of trapping a groundhog become obvious.
Removing a single groundhog does not mean other groundhogs may not re-inhabit an area in the future. Like other rodents, groundhogs leave pheromone trails behind, which even after their removal can attract other groundhogs to the area. If you deal with recurring groundhog issues, you might want to consider a rat wall as a solution for permanent exclusion.
Creature Control’s technicians have the know-how and experience to effectively bait, trap and exclude groundhogs. Call 1-844-774-3284 today to schedule an appointment or with any other questions about solutions to groundhog problems.
Despite what some people may claim, there are no approved poisons made for use on groundhogs. Some persons try poisons made for rats or other animals on groundhogs, but we cannot recommend this. It is never a good idea to use a poison for anything other than what is indicated on the label; in fact, using a pesticide other than for what is specified on the label is a crime. There are no legal groundhog poisons in Wyoming or Colorado. While lethal trapping is always a possibility, kill trapping requires a permit in Colorado.
Colorado-Wyoming Groundhog Removal
Creature Control is a family owned and operated business based in northern Colorado, near Fort Collins. We service ten counties in Colorado and Wyoming and have technicians experienced in groundhog removal. We service the Fort Collins, Cheyenne, and Laramie metropolitan areas, as well as all of Laramie County, Larimer County, and portions of Weld, Boulder, and Albany counties.