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Removing Rock Chucks from Your Property

Rock Chucks are a common rodent in the American west. They are a member of the marmot family, related to squirrels and prairie dogs. Rock chucks have diverse habitats from grassy areas, forests, deserts, and mountains. They are commonly referred to as “yellow-bellied marmots” or “whistle-pigs,” which comes from their ability to whistle loudly when they sense trouble or danger. Rocks chuck love to eat vegetation and burrow under foundations. Before they ruin your crops or structures, call Creature Control today to remove these pesky varmints.

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Rock Chuck Appearance and Habits

Rock chucks are related to woodchucks; however, they are typically smaller, averaging about eight pounds, and growing roughly two feet long. Their fur is light brown, and their bellies are yellowish-orange, giving way to their nickname “yellow-bellied marmot.” Spots adorn their necks, and a splash of white fur is located between their eyes. Rock chucks live in burrowed colonies consisting of about twenty marmots with a single dominant (and very territorial) male. Males will mate with a few different partners simultaneously. Female marmots will reproduce three to five offspring per litter, and the babies will eventually co-mingle with the rest of the colony, where they will spend nearly 80 percent of their lives. Between September to May, rock chucks hibernate; they forage for food during the remaining four months. Rock chucks are herbivores and particularly enjoy flowers, tomatoes, grains, fruits, and occasionally insects and bird eggs. Although they can climb trees, the rock chuck is mostly earth-bound by nature.

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Problematic Rock Chucks

When rock chucks overpopulate, they tend to carry disease and become more destructive to private property. Homes, farms, and even automobiles fall prey to these troublesome pests. In the search for food, they can crawl up into vehicles and chew through wiring and such. Several places are susceptible to rock chucks, as they burrow under foundations and concrete, breakthrough HVAC systems and crawl spaces, damage posts by gnawing on them, and destroying edible or visual gardens, orchards, and irrigation systems. They also urinate and leave feces near their burrows, which means an unsanitary mess for decks or patios. Marmots can be carriers of fleas and ticks, which often host bacteria causing the sylvatic plague or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Rock chucks dig complex burrows which contain several entrances, tunnels, and emergency exits. They use these structures to shelter themselves from predators and as a den for breeding and hibernation. Their daily in/out burrow is usually only three feet deep; however, their hibernating burrow may expand down more than 16 feet. The main entrance is distinguished by a large mound of earth ranging about six to 12 inches in diameter with well-hidden exits, making them very difficult to locate and remove.

Removing and Controlling Rock Chucks

Due to the large number of rock chucks that can inhabit a single burrow, removing them might take some time. The process includes locating the entrance and exits which requires persistence, dedication, and the proper tools and skillset to achieve. It is not recommended that home or business owners attempt removal, as there are so many inhabitants, it is usually very challenging to determine if/when the entire colony is gone. For any rock chuck issues, contact the Creature Control experts today and avoid the headaches these pests can cause.

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What do these animals sound like?
What's That Noise? What's that noise?
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Scratching during the day may indicate the presence of a bat, but this is uncommon.

More common sources of scratching or clawing during the day is a squirrel or a yellowjacket hive in the drywall, if it is summer.

A scratching sound coming from the attic is a good indication of the presence of a bat. The scratching may be constant or intermittent and may occur at day or night, though with a bat, this scratching will usually be heard at night. This is the sounds of the claws on the bat's wings as it moves around.

It may also indicate the presence of mice, however. An inspection is necessary to more directly pinpoint the source of the sound.

Gnawing sounds during the day are almost always due to the presence of a rodent, such a mouse, squirrel, chipmunk, or sometimes a rat. Rodents are characterized by their large incisor teeth, which continually grow and must be worn down by constant gnawing. Rodents will gnaw on wires, insulation and anything else they can find in an attic. Many house fires due to electrical problems are caused by damaged wires due to squirrel gnawing.

If you are hearing gnawing or chewing sounds at night, it may indicate the presence of a raccoon. Usually this will be accompanied by other noises, such as heavy walking. If you do not hear this, it may be a flying squirrel or some other rodent.

A "rolling" sound is usually due to the presence of a red squirrel bringing in nuts or other debris and rolling it around up in the attic, as squirrels will use attics to hoard food. If you hear this sound during the day, it is certainly a red squirrel, since red squirrels are the only mammals that commonly get into attics that are active during the day (flying squirrels get into attics as well but they are nocturnal). The "rolling" sound associated with a squirrel is sometimes described as the sound of marbles rolling.

If it is not a squirrel, there's a possibility a rolling sound could be made by birds moving around in a tight space.

Rolling sounds at night can be caused by flying squirrels, which are nocturnal. It is made by the squirrel bringing nuts or other debris into the attic or wall.

Raccoons may also make a rolling sound, though this is less common.

Scampering or scurrying during the day is almost always attributable to a squirrel, as most other scurrying animals (such as mice) are nocturnal.

A scurrying or scampering sound at night is usually due to mice moving through the walls, ceiling, or along the floor.

Nocturnal flying squirrels may make this noise as well; peak periods of activity for flying squirrels are just before dawn and shortly after sunset. Their scurrying is light and fast.

Raccoons may also make this sort of noise, but with a raccoon it will be more of a "walking" sound, a bit heavier than a squirrel, and not as fast.

Heavy walking or crawling is a very unique sound that almost always indicates the presence of a raccoon, whether it occurs during the day or night.

Heavy walking or crawling is a very unique sound that almost always indicates the presence of a raccoon, whether it occurs during the day or night.

If you can clearly hear the sound of flapping during the day, it is definitely a bird.

If you hear flapping at night, it is either a trapped bird or a bat. Nuisance birds are generally not active at night, so if you hear flapping it may be a bird that has become trapped. The flapping of a bat's wings is very soft, almost like a dull whirring. If you hear a very faint, soft whirring, it may mean a bat is flying around nearby in the dark.

Crackling is a very particular noise that is generally made by a yellowjacket hive within the drywall of your home. yellowjackets will pick and gnaw on drywall and use the pieces to construct their hives. The sound of this gnawing is often described as a crackling; it sounds a lot like Rice Krispies popping. If you hear this, it means the yellowjackets are close to gnawing through the dry wall. It is not as common at night, but certainly can happen then as well if the hive is big enough.

Crackling is a very particular noise that is generally made by the presence of a yellowjacket hive within the drywall of your home. yellowjackets will pick and gnaw on drywall and use the pieces to construct their hives. The sound of this gnawing is often described as a crackling; it sounds a lot like Rice Krispies popping. If you hear this, it means the yellowjackets are close to gnawing through the dry wall.

A sound of chirping or chattering usually means there are baby animals present. What species depends on the season, but it is very common for baby squirrels, raccoons, or birds (especially chimney swifts) to make these noises. Please contact Creature Control for a more thorough diagnosis.

A sound of chirping or chattering usually means there are baby animals present. What species depends on the season, but it is very common for baby squirrels, raccoons, or birds (especially chimney swifts) to make these noises. Please contact Creature Control for a more thorough diagnosis.

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