We all know what a groundhog is, they’re those furry little critters that run about in our yards, and at times, fields. The kind that nibbles at our plants and is occasionally attacked by our dogs (if we have any).
So, that raises a very simple question, how do the groundhogs get around? They’re small, don’t have much in the way of natural protection, and probably don’t live very long. So, that leaves one option, do they dig holes?
Well, the answer is yes.
Groundhogs are very good at digging and spend much of their waking hours at digging burrows, either for hibernating in the cold season, or for hiding out for predators the rest of the year. They normally have two burrows, one for winter, which is adapted for hibernation, and another one for summer which is better suited for the groundhog’s active season by having several entries and thereby ways of escape.
In other words: Groundhogs live under ground.
The holes, or burrows if you prefer, are the groundhog’s main way of getting around, and serve as a shelter from predators. There’s usually one main burrow, with four additional exits.
They accomplish this by having sturdy claws and being quite strong for being such a small critter.
They generally make two burrows, one for winter months, where they store food for the cold, and one for the summer months. In the winter, they hibernate, using all the food they ate for supplying body heat. In the summer, they prefer open ones to let the air in.
In the winter, they prefer to make a burrow in wooded areas, places with a lot of covers. In summer, open plains and fields. Kind of like humans, in a way.
A burrow is usually around six inches in diameter, or radius of the entrance, and may well be 100 feet in length. They are rather complex, with multiple chambers for different purposes. For example, one could be for waste, the other nesting, and others for storage. That’s right, under your yard could be a groundhog mansion!
If you find a groundhog burrow in your yard, then they may be busy digging underground at the very same time. The multiple holes and complex beneath your yard may result in structural instability, meaning that you are at risk of falling into a hole. Not much of a risk for an able-bodied person, but the disabled and elderly are at serious risk of harm.
In addition, they may also dig at underground pipes. Water, gas, electricity, are potentially at risk due to the groundhog’s burrowing. Plus, repairs and those bills tend to stack up very quickly.
That said, you are not in danger of being attacked by groundhogs. Despite the name, they are herbivores and eat plants and vegetables. So you don’t need to worry about getting hurt by one directly.