Woodchuck

Characteristics

Woodchucks are fat, short animals that can weigh 5 to 10 pounds and 16 to 27 inches in length. Although they are fat and short and also owning a short, bushy tail, they have strong legs and claws that are used for digging burrows. their ears have the ability to close the ear openings so that they can stay protected when they are digging or when they are underground.

Habitat

This animal prefers living in dry soils where they have easy access to their needed food, which is why their burrows are common in farmlands and woodlands. But, because of urban development, these animals are now creating burrows in parks, golf courses, and at times in gardens.

A great way to know if your yard is harboring a woodchuck is when you find burrows. This animal likes to dig to create their burrows and since they are also big creatures, the entrance of their burrow are made 10 to 12 inches wide that may have two to three entrances. Excavated soils can also be found surrounding the entrances.

Behavior

Woodchucks are commonly seen during the warmer months where they will sleep on rocks or logs that are near their burrows. they do not like to travel long distances away from their burrows and will rely on their sense of sound and smell to escape from possible threats.

Woodchucks also hibernate for four to five months during winter just like bears. They will wake up during February or March with the male waking up first, only to search for females still in their sleep so that they can mate.

Food

Woodchucks are vegetarian. They eat beans, lettuce, cole crops, alfalfa, clover, and a variety of fruits and green-leafy vegetables.

Life Cycle

The breeding season for woodchucks are during the months of March and April. They only breed once a year with two to six young. The young woodchucks are born blind and hairless and will be taken care of their mother until June or July. By then, the young woodchucks will leave their mother to find their own dens or burrows. Woodchucks can live for 3 to 6 years.

Other Information and Tips

While issues arise when woodchucks create burrows in orchards, gardens, farms, and the likes, they should still not be considered as pests. They are just trying to live their life while at the same time their habitat is shrinking. To humanely get rid of woodchucks in your property the best solution is to evict them or trap them.

Eviction can be done by disturbing the burrow. However, timing is necessary to do this because they are mostly asleep during the winter, and they have dependent young in their burrows from spring or early summer. If you evict them during winter, they may die. To get all the woodchucks out, wait for mid to late summer to allow these animals be transferred to a better location.

It is also important to fence your home or garden to stop these woodchucks from entering your property.If possible, get a dog since dogs can scare them off.


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