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A woodchuck is a rodent belonging to the largest of the squirrel species in Northern Michigan. Also referred to as groundhogs, they are active during the day in the spring to fall months. There is no actual difference between a groundhog and a woodchuck. The terms woodchuck and groundhog are interchangeable. They are tan to brown in color and can reach up to 24 inches long. They are similar to the thirteen-lined ground squirrel in that they do not enter homes. These rodents have clawed paws for digging and can cause damage to garden plants, agricultural crops, trees, and other shrubberies. They are not aggressive toward humans or other animals and do not transmit diseases.
Woodchucks hibernate around the end of October until late February and into March. They are actually among the few mammals that enter into true hibernation, which typically starts in late fall months and continues through late February. Every year on February 2, people around the country celebrate Groundhog Day, which is a tradition that centers around the idea that groundhog emerges from its hibernation to “predict” whether or not winter will continue. If the animal sees their shadow, it will return to its burrow, and there will be six more weeks of the winter season. However, if they do not see their shadow, then we know spring is near.
Fully grown woodchuck range anywhere from 16 to 22 inches in length and weigh between five and thirteen pounds. Their bodies are compact and chunky, with four legs and front feet with long, curved claws for digging burrows. Although woodchucks are notoriously slow runners, they can scurry quickly to their dens upon sensing danger. The primary predators of these mammals are hawks, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, dogs, and humans. However, motorized vehicles kill many woodchucks each year.
Woodchucks sometimes make their dens in crawlspaces, so it is important to inspect the outside of the home for access points, such as holes in the foundation or broken vent covers. If an infestation is suspected, contacting a licensed pest control professional is the best method to get rid of a woodchuck. If you are experiencing problems associated with woodchucks on your property, give us a call today!