Groundhogs are large rodents that are native to North America, mainly United States of America, Canada, Alaska and Central Mexico. These solitary animals are great burrowers and good climbers, and these two attributes should always be taken into consideration when dealing with them.
Being mostly herbivores, woodchucks, as groundhogs are also called, are comfortable living inside burrows that they dig under garden sheds, porches, and other man-made structures. From there, they can easily come out to feed on vegetables, apples, bananas, broccoli and other edible plants in sight. They seldom feed on snails, grubs and insects which they can also find in these locations. While in residence, groundhogs can cause structural damage and destruction of yards and gardens due to constant burrowing and search for foods.
The best way to be free of groundhogs is by outright prevention; blocking them from getting into your house, garden or yard. This can be done with fences, home repairs and other methods below:
Prevention via Fences
Fences can effectively keep groundhogs outside of a property. Bearing in mind that they are good both at digging and at climbing, the fence must be high enough to prevent them from climbing it and must extend below the ground level so that they cannot dig a tunnel under it. Thus the fence should be about 4 to 5 feet high from the ground and it should go about 1 to 2 feet underground too. The base of the fence should also tilt at an angle to make it hard for them to climb it.
A chicken wire fence can be easily installed to keep groundhogs away and its gaps should not be more than 3" by 3" to prevent them from squeezing through the space. Use galvanized materials to prevent the fence from rusting easily; groundhogs can chew rusted wire and make an opening for themselves. Electric hot-spot wire can also be used in the place of chicken wire as it also gives reliable results.
Use chicken wire to block any old burrows that the groundhogs have abandoned. This is because groundhogs sometimes reoccupy old, inactive burrows when they have the chance.
Prevention via Home Repairs
In the case that a groundhog infestation has been previously cleared, home repairs are essential to fix any structural damage and block or seal all cracks and holes. This will prevent them from returning.
Prevention via Repellents
1. Castor oil – this is a natural repellent that irritates groundhogs by its pungent odor. Locate the burrows and pour about one spoonful of castor oil in each burrow, after which you cover them up with dirt. In the alternative, castor oil may be mixed with water and sprayed all over the yard or garden intermittently to discourage any potential entrant. This needs to be repeated every other week or after a rainfall. It offers a temporary solution to groundhog entrance
2. Chilli pepper – or cayenne pepper. Sprinkle some into the burrows and cover with dirt or spread it all over your garden by mixing with some warm water and dispensing from a spray bottle.
3. Eggs – breaking an egg into each burrow and covering with dirt is also a common practice in repelling groundhog. Like other repellent solutions though, its effectiveness is temporary at best.
4. Ammonia – this works best when mixed with soapy water. Pour a sufficient quantity into the burrow, enough to go deep down. Leave for some time and repeat if any activity is sighted until the woodchucks are all gone.
Remove all attractants
Groundhogs are often attracted to places where fallen trees, rock piles and wood piles are stored up or kept. These objects provide warm shelters for woodchucks to hide and live, so if these objects and other debris are removed from your yard, it would make it less attractive to groundhogs.
Get rid of their foods
Groundhogs will always go where their foods are available, they like food so much and can eat as much as 30% of their whole body weight in just one day. Their foods are mainly vegetables, fruits and other plants. They eat insects, grubs, snails too. You can get rid of these animals by using insecticides.
Some people call these animals by a different name, so you can also read woodchuck prevention methods
for more information about keeping groundhogs away from yard or property.