Woodchucks or groundhog (Marmota monax)
Size: 20–27″ long, excluding tail; 5–12 pounds.Get A free Quote
1. Adults are often seen basking in the sun, in a grassy area, on a fence post, stone wall, large rock, or fallen log—always near its burrow.
2. Sounds: Occasional sharp whistles and low churrs, given at times of danger.
3. Odor is distinctive. Will often see flies around an active burrow. In other words, Groundhogs are STINKY! That is some Groundhog Information you can totally get to know firsthand.
4. Scat: Rarely seen (woodchucks excavate a privy off their main burrow).
5. Evidence of their feeding: Chewed wood. Chewing on fresh plants similar to that of rabbits; difficult to pin on woodchucks without supporting evidence.
6. Dens: Will see a large mound of dirt and stones by the main entrance to their burrow; the secondary entrances, which were dug from the inside, generally don’t have a dirt mound by their opening. Well-worn trail from entrance to entrance, or to the garden.
Herbivore. Woodchucks eat succulent grasses, weeds, clover, fruits (apples, cherries, pears), berries, field and garden crops (cabbage, lettuce, beans, peas, carrots, alfalfa, soybeans), and ornamental plants (they love phlox). They’ll climb trees to take fruits such as cherries, apples, and pears.
Social style: Generally solitary.
Daily activity: Diurnal, most active in the early morning and evening. They rely on dew as their water source. Woodchucks have good eyesight and are good swimmers. They’ll climb trees up to a height of about 20 ft, although more usually, they keep to 8–12 ft.
Hibernator? Yes. Hibernates deeply from the time of the first heavy frost through early spring. Occasionally hibernates in small groups.
Migrates? No.Get A free Quote
Distribution in NY and the Northeast: Everywhere.
Habitat: Meadows, woodlots, hayfields, pastures, hedgerows, idle fields, parks, suburbs. Dens usually found in open fields; near fence rows or woodland edges; under barns, sheds, porches, decks, stone walls, and woodpiles.
Territory and home range: Territorial. Woodchucks may skirmish to establish dominance. Subordinate woodchucks avoid dominant ones. Home ranges overlap and are usually small. Woodchucks rarely travel more than 50 yards from their den, even to feed. Their burrows can be 2–5 feet deep and as much as 60 feet long. There are usually 2 or 3 (but perhaps as many as 5) entrances, possibly including a well-hidden, straight-down “plunge hole”.
Pair bonding style: Polygamous. Females raise young alone.
Birthing period: Late March to early May. Gestation takes about 31 days.
Litter size: 3–4.
Weaning dates: at 5–6 weeks.
Amount of time young remain with parents beyond weaning date: Young stray from burrow alone at 6–7 weeks, mid-June to early July. Mother drives young from her burrow by July.Get A free Quote
Time of year: Calls peak in July and August, although their damage may begin in spring and last into the fall.
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