Groundhog Droppings – Identification
When you notice unfamiliar animal droppings in your yard, it can take some real detective work to figure out which animal it belongs to and what pests you may have lurking around your property. Like squirrels and raccoons, groundhogs are an unwelcome guest for many people that can wreak havoc on their yards, vegetable gardens, and plants.
As groundhogs spend a considerable amount of time underground, you may suspect their presence but be unable to verify any sightings. Therefore, looking for droppings is an obvious step to identify the culprit of damage to your yard or vegetables. Typically, groundhog droppings are medium sized, so larger than those of a rabbit and smaller than those of a cat, oval-shaped and are usually either dark brown or black. However, searching for their droppings can be a futile task and even if you find similar looking evidence, the chances are that these droppings belong to another animal.
Thanks to their excellent burrowing skills, groundhogs, also known as woodchucks and ground squirrels, spend most of their time underground and even have dedicated chambers within their burrows in which to do their toileting. For this reason, it is very uncommon that groundhog feces ever make it above ground. If you’re seeking to identify a groundhog issue, we suggest taking a different tact.
How to Identify Groundhogs
One of the easiest ways to find out whether you have groundhogs living beneath your house or lawn is to search for any destruction that they create.These keen chewers have incredibly long and sharp incisor teeth. Two or three groundhogs can work their way through your plants, flowers, and vegetables in just a matter of days.
The next step is to look for entrances to their burrow. Groundhogs can grow to up to 80 cm so their tunnels are often much larger than other underground mammals. Each burrow will have at least two entrances: one main entrance and another which serves as a look-out hole. However, advanced burrows can have several exit points around the area. These underground tunnels can cause damage to paving, irrigation systems, decked areas and if the problem continues for a long time, even the structural foundations of your home.
If you spot an animal in your garden that you believe to be a groundhog, the first thing to consider is the time of year. If it is still the depths of winter, then it won’t be a groundhog. These animals emerge in February (hence Groundhog Day) following a long hibernation. If it is early spring/summer, then groundhogs can be identified by their appearance which is similar to oversized squirrels. Their coarse fur has frosted tips, their tail is somewhat shorter than a squirrel and their claws and teeth are particularly long and sharp to assist them with burrowing and eating.
Treating a groundhog problem in your yard can be relatively straightforward when you know what to look for and understand the animal’s behavior.
Identifying Groundhog Scat
Groundhog droppings – or scat produce medium-sized, oval-shaped droppings. Woodchuck poop is typically dark brown or black in color.
Where Can the Droppings Be Found?
While the pests cause damage by leaving holes in lawns, they are relatively clean animals. Woodchucks defecate into special chambers they dig underground, so homeowners rarely see their droppings.
Problems Caused by Feces
Although most homeowners will not have to deal with the pests’ droppings, however those infected with rabies behave erratically and could leave waste in yards. However, because rabies can only be transmitted through saliva or nervous system tissue, contact with the pests’ feces cannot pass the disease to humans. Residents with infestations of groundhogs or other burrowing animals should contact local pest control specialists for safe and efficient removal, especially if they suspect the pests are rabid.
How to Clear Groundhogs from Your Yard
When it comes to pest control, there are a number of things you can do to remove groundhogs from your yard, including setting live traps, fatal traps, and fumigation. The most popular and efficient solution is fumigation as this does not tackle the groundhogs on a one-by-one basis but instead treats each whole burrow at a time, which can house several groundhogs.
Treating a groundhog problem in your yard can be relatively straightforward when you know what to look for and understand the animal’s behavior. Although groundhog feces can carry disease, it very uncommon to find these droppings in your garden. Once you have identified a burrow near your home, proper fumigation is enough to resolve the problem and protect your yard from any further damage from these destructive pests.
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