Professional Groundhog Control & Woodchuck Removal in North Alabama and Southern Middle Tennessee
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The woodchuck, or groundhog, is one of the best known wild mammals in Tennessee, but few realize this rodent is a member of the Squirrel Family. Its common name, woodchuck, is an anglicized corruption of an Indian name for this species. The origin of its other name, groundhog, is obvious from the animal's squat appearance, waddling gait and habit of living in the ground.
This common rodent varies from 16-27 inches in length; it has short, powerful legs and a medium-long, bushy, and somewhat flattened tail. The long, coarse fur of the back is a grizzled grayish brown with a yellowish or reddish cast. Woodchucks weigh 4-14 pounds, being lightest in spring when they are just out of hibernation and heaviest in fall prior to hibernation.
Woodchucks prefer to live along the edges where timbered areas are bordered by open land or along fence rows and heavily vegetated gullies or stream banks. Here they dig their burrows. The main entrance is often located beneath a tree stump or rock and is usually conspicuous because of a pile of freshly excavated earth and stones. Side entrances are smaller and better concealed. The tunnels lead to an enlarged chamber, 3-6 feet underground, which contains the nest.
By the end of October, most woodchucks are curled up in a profound sleep in their underground nest. So deep is this sleep that even if an animal is warmed up, it requires several hours to awaken. Woodchucks usually hibernate all winter, although during periods of mild weather, some individuals may awaken.
In Tennessee, groundhogs emergence from hibernation begins as early as the first week of February, but severe cold weather may delay this. As the daily temperatures rise and plant growth increases, the chucks spend more and more time above ground. During this period, the main activity is feeding and basking in the spring sun.
Groundhog digging, the front feet and claws are used primarily, but the teeth may be employed to move stones or cut roots. The amount of subsoil removed in the course of digging one burrow averages 716 pounds. Digging is done so rapidly that a small burrow can be finished in one day, though upkeep is continued as long as the burrow is occupied.
The Woodchuck breeding season begins in mid-February soon after the animals emerge from hibernation. Pregnancy lasts 31-33 days and the single, annual litter is born toward the end of March. At birth, the two to nine young groundhogs are naked, blind and helpless. The baby groundhpgs measure about four inches long. The eyes open when the young are about 4 weeks old; although the kits come to the opening of the burrow at this time, they seldom venture outside until 6 or 7 weeks old. By midsummer, the young groundhogs are 20 inches long and weigh about four pounds. About this time, they may dig temporary burrows near the nursery which they use for a short period. Later, they move some distance away and establish their own homes.
Nuisance Groundhog Damage
Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks. On occasion, the woodchuck’s feeding and burrowing habits conflict with human interests. Groundhog damage often occurs on farms, in home gardens. Groundhogs will dig under a house, sometimes doing damage to air ducts and electrical wiring. Fruit trees and ornamental shrubs are damaged by woodchucks as they gnaw or claw woody vegetation. Gnawing on underground power cables has caused electrical outages. Groundhog damage to rubber hoses in vehicles, such as those used for vacuum and fuel lines, has also been documented. Mounds of earth from the excavated groundhog burrow systems and holes formed at burrow entrances present a hazard to farm equipment, horses, and riders. Tennessee Valley Wildlife Control has handled several calls where a groundhog had been under a house and had caused significant damage.
Getting Rid of Groundhogs
Do you need groundhog control, or a groundhog removal expert for your yard, garden or crops? Maybe you do not know how to get rid of groundhogs, don’t have the time, or would like the groundhogs removed unharmed? Groundhog trapping is the most effective and successful method of getting rid of groundhogs. We are professional groundhog trappers and have experience to be able to place traps in strategic locations to resolve your groundhog problems quickly.