How Much Wood could a Woodchuck Chuck?

This February if you looked in your backyard and saw a groundhog poke its head out the hole to its den, you probably did not worry about whether we would have six more weeks of winter. Groundhogs, also referred to as woodchucks (often called in as an animal that looks like a beaver with a squirrel’s tail), can be quite the nuisance animal. They are notorious for causing damage to gardens and ornamental trees as well as potentially affecting the structural integrity of your home when burrows are built along the foundation and left open for long period of time. 

 Although they look cute and fuzzy, groundhogs are known to be very aggressive especially if cornered or in defense of their young.  Here in Omaha groundhogs are often found in open lots or yards near woody areas. The most frequent calls regarding groundhogs involve burrows built under sheds, low lying decks, along the foundation of homes and along retaining walls.

Groundhog Facts:

Appearance: Males and females look similar, weighing between 5-10 lbs
 Usually brown or gray, though albino and black groundhogs have been  documented
 They have long furry tails and large incisors
 Long curved claws used for digging

Food Habits: Are strictly vegetarians that forage on fruits, grasses and plants  in flower and vegetable gardens

Biology: Usually produce a litter of 2-6 young in the spring
  Live3-6 yrs

Fun Facts:
• Although they do look like beavers, groundhogs are rodents and the largest part of the squirrel family
• Groundhog Day was founded by Pennsylvanian Germans and comes from  European weather lore originally based on a badger or scared beaver
• The largest celebration of Groundhog Day is in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
• Though the film Groundhog Day  was set in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, it was actually filmed in Woodstock, Illinois
• There is no ‘s after groundhog when referring to the holiday
• Also known as “whistle pigs”
• Are closely related to marmots