Groundhog Removal – Rid Them From Your Pittsburgh Property

Kaddam, also known as Groundhog or whistle pigs, are widely distributed throughout the state of Pennsylvania, and wildlife removal services are often relied upon to deal with the destruction they can cause in yards and surrounding landscapes.

Although groundhogs have a big day named after them in early February each year, not much is known about these strange-looking creatures that spend most of their lives underground.

Legends abound, and ground hog folklore about weather predictions has European origins.

It is related to the centuries-old German belief about badgers as predictors of the weather, which the Pennsylvania Dutch brought with them to the United States in the 18th century and applied to this new but similar animal.

Their compact bodies, strong, short legs and curved claws are ideal for what they can do; Namely digging deep burrows.

Groundhogs have short tails and are usually brownish gray in color. White (albino) and black critters also occur, but they are not at all common.

Marmot Groundhog Removal

Both sexes are similar in appearance, although males are slightly larger, averaging 5 to 10 pounds.

Like most rodent species, they have chisel-like teeth that never stop growing. Mother Nature has given them eyes, ears and noses located on the top of their heads, which allow them to hide in burrows to peek over the rim for danger from predators.

The complex nature of groundhog burrows

A burrow is a home, a place to mate, hibernate, raise young, and serve as a safe haven from nearby danger. The main entrance is a large mound that descends at a steep angle before leading to a narrow tunnel.

There are actually chambers within the pit that serve specific purposes. Sleeping and raising young in the nest chamber, which is at the far end of the burrow.

There are also separate toilet areas, which help maintain a clean hole that the likes of Martha Stewart would probably appreciate. Also, there are one to three secondary entrances that have been dug out from under the pit and are very well hidden.

What kind of damage do groundhogs do?

It’s the groundhog’s eating and barking habits that often wreak havoc with the needs and concerns of Pittsburgh homeowners who often contact PestCo’s wildlife removal services department for help.

Areas at risk are farms, home gardens, nurseries, orchards, around buildings and sometimes dikes and building foundations that can be weakened by their constant digging.

Crops can also be heavily damaged, especially alfalfa, beans, squash, peas and tomatoes, which are expensive to transplant. Excavated holes and pit mounds also pose a hazard to farm equipment, horses and riders.

What is the legal status of groundhogs?

In the state of Pennsylvania, groundhogs are classified as game animals, but legally a homeowner has the right to shoot them if they damage property. Although there is no “bag limit,” anyone shooting them must have a valid Pennsylvania hunting license.

Safer methods must always be employed, and landowners/hunters can make executive decisions about whether reducing the groundhog population or maintaining something is the best decision at the moment.

Shooting should always be a last resort after other population control efforts have failed.

12 Things to Know About Groundhogs

1. The groundhog is known by many other names

Woodchucks aka groundhogs (Marmota monax) species belong to the squirrel family in general, but specifically to a larger group of ground rodents known as marmots.

This animal has many other names including: Canada marmot, chuck, whistle pig, which makes the fact that they whistle to each other when they are close to danger, munak, groundpig, monax, red monk, thick wood badger, winusk, wuchak, woodshock and whistler.

2. The groundhog is the hibernator king

At times, from late fall to early spring, groundhogs enter a state of lethargy in which their body temperature drops from 99 degrees to about 38 degrees, heart rate drops from 80 beats per minute to 5, and respiration rate drops from 16 breaths per minute to 2. .

3. They are known for their large population

The estimated total groundhog population across the United States and Canada is over 200 million.

Forest clearing since the arrival of European settlers has opened up suitable habitat and farmland for groundhogs to survive.

4. Groundhogs contribute to the environment

Despite their damage, groundhogs expose deep, compacted soil to the atmosphere. It provides essential oxygen to the roots.

As long as the holes are open, they provide a constant supply of nutrients to the soil, which helps plants grow.

5. Their diet is plant-based

Groundhogs are herbivores, and they feed almost exclusively on fruits, berries, tree bark, twigs, and plants.

It targets home gardens, residential yards and surrounding properties and crop fields for its sharp, sharp teeth and curved claws.

6. The predator-prey groundhog equation

Widely hunted by humans and often hunted by wolves, coyotes, bears, bobcats, eagles, great horned owls and others, within the natural order, this factor is balanced by the species’ high reproductive capacity.

A female can produce a litter of 2 to 6 young per year, and most grow to adulthood within the confines of the protective cavity.

7. Burrow nature

In their own rodent way, groundhog burrows are magnificent works of architecture. They are known to extend 66 feet across their tunnels and chambers and as deep as 5 feet below the surface.

One study indicated that in a cave excavated with a dozen burrows, numerically, each groundhog excavated an average of 384 pounds of soil and rock.

It is not unusual for an older groundhog to have multiple burrows.

8. Groundhog teeth never stop growing

As is the case with most rodent species, ground hog teeth grow continuously at a rate of 1/16th of an inch per week.

If the tooth is not worn down by the normal act of chewing, a snaggletooth or sabertooth may occur.

In some cases, the growth of the tooth can be so large that it can pierce through the animal’s jaw and skull.

9. Groudhogs have amazing powers

Always beware of predators, groundhogs are excellent swimmers, as their short legs make it easy for them.

Their tails are powerful and can be used defensively, either striking an enemy or slamming it into the water to create a sharp splash. They can swim at a rate About 2 miles per hour.

They are also very skilled climbers. They don’t just climb trees, as their very strong claws allow them to easily scale pillars.

10. Groundhogs live short lives in the wild

Although they are known to live up to 20 years in captivity, their average lifespan in the wild is between 3 and 6 years.

They cannot be owned in the state of Pennsylvania without a special permit, and they do not make good pets.

Naturally aggressive, their instincts dominate any attempts at training and they do not adjust to life in a cage.

11. A groundhog’s burrow once led to an important discovery

In 1955, a man named Albert Miller discovered some artifacts in an abandoned groundhog burrow.

After the site was excavated, the materials were sent to the Smithsonian Institute where radio-carbon dating revealed that the artifacts were about 19,000 years old and evidence of human habitation, possibly as a campsite.

This discovery marks the first known North American setting of human habitation.

12. Other species live in abandoned groundhog burrows

Red foxes, skunks, opossums, and rabbits are known to live in abandoned ground pig burrows.

Although some of these species live in burrows, Mother Nature did not equip them with claws that would help them dig deeper.

These species depend on the nature and ability of groundhogs to provide their habitat.

Pittsburgh Wildlife Removal Services

Pestco Professional Services It’s a Pittsburgh institution, a part of the local landscape here since the late 1940s, serving residences and businesses throughout Greater Pittsburgh and its surrounding counties. We are quality pro certified and offer free estimates and guaranteed results!

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When it comes to dealing with groundhogs, our approach is both effective and humane. Groundhogs can both present a health risk as they often carry rabies as well as pose a hazard to gardens, property and landscapes.

Repelling groundhogs requires professional care and know-how, and our goal is always to focus on removal rather than killing them first.

Although a much kinder approach, it is also a practical one as extermination can result in dead animals stuck to walls and crawl spaces, which can be difficult to access. Exclusion strategies are almost always preferred.

If groundhogs are destroying your property, call our team today. We are here to help!

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