Have you seen burrows in your yard? Have you walked around in your yard and where you step caved in? Groundhogs are mammals and are known for digging tunnels. These creatures have different names such as: woodchuck, groundpig, whistlepig, and chuck just to name a few.
The size of the groundhog looks similar to a common tree squirrel measuring 16- 24 in from nose to tail and weighing up to 10 pounds. They have powerful claws which allows them to dig in the ground for an extended amount of time and quickly to get away from predators.
Groundhogs like to make tunnels (burrows) underneath the surface to live in. They use the burrows for sleeping, taking care of their young, and hibernating so it’s not uncommon they have different chambers to reside in. The burrows usually have two to five entrances giving groundhogs means to escape when faced with a predator. The tunnels can be up to 46ft long and 5ft down from the earth’s surface. The holes on the burrows is 10-12 in with a mound of dirt in front. Often, they are near a tree base, foundation of a building or a fence. However, the secondary entry will not have the dirt mound in front.
Groundhogs are also known to dig under other structures like a fence, shed, a deck, or even the foundation of a home. There could be times that the burrows collapse and if that burrow is under the foundation of a home, then the foundation can crack.
Groundhogs come out of their burrows to feed in the morning and evening hours. They are herbivores so they will gnaw or claw trunks from fruit trees or ornamental shrubs. They eat varieties of garden plants that grow in the spring or summertime. These animals do hibernate so during the fall and winter months they are sleeping.
Here are some interesting facts about groundhogs.
1. Groundhogs are actually rodents which is a the largest member of the squirrel family.
2. They can reduce their body temperature by lowering their heart rate to be the same temperature inside its burrow.
3. They are only found in North America.
4. These animals can eat a pound of food per meal and they only eat during the summer time fating themselves up for the winter hibernation.
6. The burrows they build holds different chambers which are used for different things. One chamber will hold food while another chamber is where it sleeps.
7. Groundhogs use high pitched screeches to warn other groundhogs of approaching threats.
8. A groundhog burrow led to a now famous archaeologist site uncovering a historical village in central OH.
Groundhogs are one of the few animals that has a true hibernation, so they build a separate burrow for this purpose. There could be a possibility that other animals could reside in the same den when it becomes vacant.