Woodchucks can cause damage to crops from feeding in farm fields or home gardens. They can cause harm to horses and other livestock with the burrows they create by causing slip injuries. Woodchucks can also cause damage to ornamental trees and fruit trees by gnawing on them to wear down their teeth’s winter growth and from sharpening their claws. Woodchucks by description, are short stocky mammals with short strong legs and bushy flattened tail. Their fur color ranges from light to dark brown. Woodchucks have feet that are dark brown to black and have curved claws for digging burrows. Their ears can be closed over the openings to protect against debris and dirt from getting inside while underground. Woodchucks typically weight in at 5-10 pounds and 16-20 inches with a 6 inch tail. The males are slightly larger than the females. Woodchucks are common through-out Connecticut and prefer woodland edges, thickets and fields for living. Woodchucks feed on plants such as clover, alfalfa, grasses, vegetables, tree leaves, buds and fruits. Breeding season starts in March to middle or late April. Most woodchucks will breed in the their second year but a small percentage may breed in the first. Their gestation period is 28-32 days and the mated pair will remain together in the den during this time. The male will leave as the young are born. A typical litter of woodchucks is 2-6 blind, naked young. The young will be weaned and ready to leave the den at 5-6 weeks of age in which then they seek a den of their own.
Burrows can range from 25-30 feet long and will have at least two entrances. Burrow depth ranges from 2-5 feet deep. The main entrance is usually pretty easy to find. A second or more entrances are typically used as “bolt holes” or back-ups when needed to escape danger. Woodchucks or groundhogs are classified as rodents and are related to mice, squirrels, porcupines and beavers. Woodchucks are true hibernators, in which during late October they begin their 4-5 month sleep. Their heart, respiration and overall metabolism rates are greatly reduces and the woodchuck will nourish from their fat reserves. After hibernation woodchucks will seek out females in other dens to begin mating. Woodchucks can even climb trees to avoid enemies or to find food.
Control of woodchucks begins with assessing their type of damage. When fitting, a fence built 3 feet high with a 1 foot top section bent 90 degrees outward will work well to rid out of a given location. Woodchucks will sometimes burrow under these so it is important to have the fence buried 1-2 feet deep as well. However this my not be appropriate or feasible for large areas in which trapping woodchucks is a better option. Think GREEN Pest Control has the tools needed to trap nuisance woodchucks/groundhogs.